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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: long standing enlarged neck lymph node

 mochida - Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:47 am

Dear doctor,

I am very worried of a palpable lymph node on the lateral side of my neck. It has been present for >5 years. It is of rubbery consistency, not fixed to underlying structures and movable, non-tender (unless during the period of sore -throat, it become tender and larger). It is of around 1cm in diameter, sometimes smaller. My family physician said it didn't warrant any investigation but performed blood test of EBC screening for NPC for me (which is negative), I have no family history of NPC.

May I ask what could it be? It is belonged to the posterior triangle of the neck lymph node chain, seems one smaller also on left side, but not often palpable. I am afraid if it could be a low-grade lymphoma or other carcinoma. Would you please kindly give me some advice? I have a history of tonsillitis during my childhood as well. CBC has been performed annually and no abnormality detected. Thanks for your help!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:38 am

User avatar If it has been present for nearly 5 years it almost certainly is not lymphoma. Lymph nodes that have lymphoma are generally hard, often immobile and would tend to continue to enlarge.

What you are describing is more likely consistent with a normal lymph node. Probably, at some point in the past, you had an infection that caused the node to swell. Occasionally swollen lymph nodes don't shrink back down to unnoticeable size. They may end up staying slightly enlarged and palpable (referred to as shotty lymph nodes).

If infections occur, the node may swell larger for a period of time then return to its previous size.

Hope this helps.
 mochida - Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:23 pm

Dear doctor,

thanks for your reasurrance. I am actuallya male, 24 years old and medically fit, but keep on being quite thin starting from childhood, so do u suggest me to have biopsy of the node or just keep under review? Thanks!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Mar 10, 2007 10:48 pm

User avatar If your doctor was not concerned I would tend to agree. You can likely just keep an eye on the node. If it becomes larger, hard or immobile you should have it checked and consider biopsy.

Best wishes.
 mochida - Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:36 am

Dear doctor,

I have read that normal nodes are not palpable, does it mean u really can't "catch" it even how deep u search on ur neck? Coz I can't feel it when I just use my finger to search around but can "pick up" something like a node if I catch deeper...

I am still very concerned the neck lymph node although it's has been here for >5 years..

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