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- Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:28 am
I'm a 26 y.o. Caucasian female in fairly decent health. I don't take any maintenance medication. I have only had 1 surgery (rotator cuff) in my life and that was approximately 3.5 years ago. My family hx is unknown as I am adopted.
I have had 2 small marble-sized swollen bumps underneath my right armpit for some time now. At first, I thought it was an ingrown hair or something from shaving. However, they have never been red or irritated and have grown overtime. At first they were really small, now they are getting bigger. I do occasionally have night sweats, but was assuming that had to do with me getting hot under the covers at night. I've also had some muscle/joint pain, tiredness. The other day I had a random fever that spiked to 103.8 and then went back to normal after 24 hours, stays normal for several days and then goes back up and then comes down. I thought that the joint pain was because it was getting colder and that the tiredness was from stress. I've of course been to Web Md and now I am freaking myself out thinking I have Hodgkin's and/or some other form of cancer. The lumps are painful to the touch and feel hard. I was on antibiotics awhile back (Z-pack) when I was sick but that was weeks ago (approximately 6) and they were there long before I got sick.
The other problem is insurance. My insurance just went out b/c I left my job for an internship at school. Do you have any advice or ideas as to what this could be?
| Dr. Chan Lowe
- Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:15 pm
There is a chain of lymph nodes under the arm pits known as the axillary nodes. Given your description, I suspect you are feeling enlarged lymph nodes.
There are several reasons that they can become enlarged. Most commonly, they are enlarged due to a recent infection. Lymph nodes are sort of like the screening centers for the immune system. When they sense infection, they begin signaling and become enlarged. During this time they can be tender. They can take several weeks to reduce in size and occasionally never get back to their normal size. Occasionally, they can become infected themselves and may need antibiotics to clear.
As you mention, lymph nodes can also become enlarged due to cancers. The cancer cells traveling through the lymphatic channels are grabbed by the lymph node then begin to expand in the node. These types of nodes tend to be hard feeling, often are immobile, and generally are NOT painful. However, the presence of pain does not necessarily rule this out. A common cancer in that presents with axillary nodes is breast cancer, so self breast exams are important.
As a statistical chance, infection is much more common than cancer. If the lumps continue to be present or are continuing to get larger I would recommend evaluation by a doctor.
Hope this helps.