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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: Specific questions about lymph nodes

 Scooter5052 - Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:02 am

I'm a healthy 21 year old female who has recently experienced some swollen lymph nodes on the side of my neck.
After thoroughly perusing previous forum posts and Dr. Fouad's help guide to lymph node enlargement, I still have a couple of questions.
I should say first that I discovered a swollen posterior cervical lymph node back in May, when I had three itchy bug bites on my neck. The node measured about 1 cm then, could be felt but not seen, was rubbery, and painless.
In July, it was still there, exactly the same. I saw my doctor about it and he said we should keep an eye on it, though he didn't seem overly concerned. He also pointed out that the bug bites could have caused it to swell like this and not go down yet.
Now it's September and that lymph node is still there, the same as it ever was. Recently, I've experienced allergies and sinus issues and noticed two new similar swollen nodes above the original one.
Just as many others with swollen lymph nodes do, I fear this could mean lymphoma (no fam. history), especially because of the rubbery nature of the nodes and their locations.

Here is where my questions come in:
- Do rubbery nodes always mean lymphoma?
- What does fixed vs. moveable mean in terms of lymph nodes (I'm not sure how to describe mine)?
- Is it normal for sinus issues/bug bites to cause the posterior cervical lymph nodes to swell in particular?

Thank you so much for your help. I find Doctors Lounge to be a great service and appreciate very much the effort that all of the doctors and nurses on the site put in.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:57 pm

User avatar Hi Scooter5052,

I'm glad you find our site helpful. For those that may find your post, here is the link to Dr. Fouad's cervical node article.

You ask some very good questions. First, rubbery is actually a good feeling. Rubbery generally does not indicate lymphoma but, instead, indicates it is a properly functioning lymph node. Lymph nodes that are cancerous are often described as very hard, like rocks.

Movable lymph nodes are nodes that can be moved around (even just a little bit) by the hand when feeling them. Fixed lymph nodes give the impression that they are glued to the underlying structures and cannot be moved.

Anything that causes some inflammation can trigger lymph node swelling. Bug bites can certainly cause some inflammation of the lymph nodes in the surrounding areas. The posterior cervical chain can be affected by bug bites. This particular chain is also quite sensitive to viral infections and can become swollen when a virus is in the body (such as with a common cold).

Also, it is relatively common for lymph nodes to remain about a centimeter in size after they have enlarged and never go back down to their original size. These are termed "shotty" lymph ndoes because they often feel like buckshot or BB's under the skin. These are still normal, functioning lymph nodes just as if they were before they became enlarged.

I hope this helps. Best wishes.

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