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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: Palpable Supraclavicular Lymph Node

 demigod - Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:22 pm

For a few days I've had a few palpable lymph nodes in my neck, and today ,being the hypochondriac that I am, I began poking around my collar bone area for lymph nodes, as I've read they are far more concerning than the ones in the neck. After literally a few hours of digging in my collar bone I began to feel a bump in between two thin veins or tendons in about the middle of my collar bone. The bump isn't very large, no larger than those on my neck. My question is, could poking and digging around in my collar bone for hours eventually cause a lymph node to swell, or at least make it palpable? I can only really feel the bump when my neck is at certain angles as well. Am I being crazy, or should I worry about this bump?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:59 pm

User avatar Hello --

No, you're not being crazy, and in fact you've uncovered a fact about anatomy and human behavior that eludes most people: you can find almost anything if you bother long enough. While it is possible to have actually irritated something enough to make it palpable, it's also quite possible that you have now honed your palpation skills to the point where they no longer serve you well because of your not having taken a course in anatomy (although I'll bet you have a pretty good idea of much of what's supposed to be where).

None of this is meant to denigrate your find, and if you can leave it alone for a few days, then go directly back to it without having to poke and prod, it may be an abnormal lymph node (which still means little on its own). If it persists after such a challenge, you might mention it to your doctor. Otherwise, it's probably no cause for concern. Again, you'll need to leave it alone long enough for it to potentially recover from having been poke and prodded, and also long enough that your sense memory will have faded sufficiently that you can't find it immediately. We can become so attuned to a feature of our body that we can find it in our sleep, so you need to literally forget the precise location of this bump. If you can then find it with no exploring at all, it will mean it is prominent enough to be abnormal. If that should be the case then you'd want to mention it to your doctor. If it changes there would be even better cause to mention it. For now, however, I'd definitely try and forget it. If you can do that and it calls attention to itself, then you'll have some small reason for concern.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you. Please follow up here as needed.
 demigod - Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:35 am

Thanks for your reply. Since my last post I actually spent alot of time digging around in my collar bone on the left hand side as well. I suffer from pretty sever OCD ,which I am getting help for, but I still did look into my lymph nodes because I found another one on the left hand side after a few days of digging around which actually caused my collar bone area to swell so bad that I could not make a 'hollow' out of it when I tried. The doctors I've seen have said that the lymph node in my left collar bone is not big enough to warrant any concern, it's maybe half a centimetre at best, I've also had a chest x ray (for another reason) which was perfectly normal, and a CBC which was also perfectly normal. I imagine I have no cause for lymphoma concern at this point after these two tests? Also the fact that I traumatized my collar bone area so badly could have brought the lymph node to the fore? It was palpable at all times when I was swollen, but now I can only feel the node if I lift my arm up high enough and kind of pull it out from behind my collar bone. I suppose the chest x ray and blood work would have found something if there was anything to find?
 demigod - Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:24 pm

Is it also possible that if I were to push hard enough along my arm pit I could feel my axillary lymph nodes on both sides?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:38 am

User avatar I think you've identified the problem -- especially in light of OCD: you've both found all the lymph nodes and you've probably mildly traumatized one or two of them. This is unsurprising, and could actually turn into something akin to skin scratching ortrichotillomania, so you don't want to get carried further away with this at the risk of injuring something that's otherwise fine. And yes, you absolutely could find the axillary nodes, especially since you've been rather obsessive and habitual in probing the area. You could actually become very good at this. Of course without medical school it would be of pretty limited use, but it's interesting for sure.
 demigod - Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:43 pm

So, I guess in relation to lymphoma which is my main worry, the only lymph nodes I should actually be concerned about would be lymph nodes that were obviously swollen, like way bigger than normal size, and easily felt when I lightly touch my skin with my hands, not dig with my finger tips, and as well lymph nodes that are visible above the skin like a swelling, not felt only when I push hard on my ribs?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:07 am

User avatar That's exactly correct.
 demigod - Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:15 pm

Thanks for all of your help. One last question, is it really uncommon for saubmandibular lymph nodes to be involved in lymphoma, and do those show up on a chest x ray?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:02 am

User avatar I honestly don't know the statistical frequency of involvement of submandibular nodes in lymphoma, only that one doesn't hear it happening that often. And no, they shouldn't show up on a chest x-ray, at least unless one has a very short neck.

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