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Forum Name: Breast Cancer

Question: Lymph Nodes Swelling and Hard


 eafarchette - Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:34 am

Good Morning,

I am a 45 yr female. Approx 30 days ago I went to my physician as I had aburning sensation in the nipple area of my left breast for over two weeks, developed redness to the breast area, and had developed swollen lymph node in the left underarm two days before my visit. His diagnosis was Mastitis and put me on a 10 day regimin of Keflex and Tylenon 3 w/Codine. The only difference it made was that the redness in my breast cleared up. My Dr. has sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound of both breasts. The ultrasound showed a cyst in my right breast and nothing in the left. The mammogram showed the lymph nodes under my left arm and down the left side of the breast and just above the breast area as swollen. Since then, the lymphs have swollen above the clavicle and at the base of my throat. The lymphs have also become hard. My Dr. has since ordered a full blood work up but has been hesitant to order a biopsy as he knows how tender that underarm area is.

I live on an island and am looking at possibly going to the mainland for treatment. Is it possible that I could be looking at IBC or Lymphoma? My Grandmother also had Lymphoma that loged in her spine.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:55 pm

User avatar Hello,

The picture you have described is very concerning. Lymph node enlargement can be due to many causes like infections (mastitis as your doctor mentioned), benign and malignant conditions.

Many physicians first prescribe an antibiotic course to exclude infectious and inflammatory causes when the clinical picture is highly suggestive as in your case.

However, it is not normal for lymph nodes of infectious cause to grow in size, become harder, or others to appear while on proper antibiotics thus those regress in size tend to be more reassuring.

If you have finished your antibiotic course and the lymph nodes are still of same size, growing, become harder or increasing in number, I advise you to follow up with your doctor and discuss with him doing a biopsy.

Biopsy can be taken also from the supracalvicular region if it is of considerable size (>1 cm). After thorough examination of all the lymph node groups in the body, surgeon will choose the most relevant (most suspicious) lymph node for biopsy.

Please follow up with your doctor and keep us updated.
Best regards.

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