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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Head and Neck Cancer

Question: Painful neck with small hard lump behind muscle

 MichelleBock - Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:39 pm

I'm a 38 year old female with a history of smoking. About 3 months ago I noticed that my neck on the right side was becoming very sore. It has continued to worsen and I noticed a small hard lump on that side behind the muscle in about the middle of my neck. I have pain inside my neck and ear areas and now another lump in front of my ear. I don't know if they are lymph nodes or what. I have been to two doctors, one of which is an ENT and have been prescribed Analox for 10 days. But I've never experienced such a stiff and sore neck for such a prolonged period. The ENT told me to come back for a scan if the lump gets bigger. My question is, how long do I wait to see if this thing is ever going to go away? I don't seem to have any other symptoms of cancer, like weight loss or anything, but what could this be? I don't want to sound like a worry-wart but I would like the lumps to go away and my neck to go back to normal. Any advice you give me would be really appreciated. Thanks.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:36 pm

User avatar Hello,

The swellings you have described are probably enlarged Lymph nodes as they occur in lymph node regions and are associated with an infection in the area drained by this lymph node group which include the ears and the throat.

Following infection, lymph nodes become enlarged, painful and tender.
They regress in size and become painless only when the infection is treated. So you should expect them to resolve when all inflammatory signs subside.

Infection is controlled after complete course of antibiotic which may takes two to three weeks according to the severity and site of infection. The critical point is recognizing the source of infection for proper antibiotic description. This may require culture and sensitivity from the throat or any discharge.

I advise you to follow up with your doctor.
Keep us updated.
Best regards.

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