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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: Swollen gland-Family history of throat cancer

 jmannina - Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:09 pm

I've had a swollen gland in my neck for four years. It started with the feeling that somehting was stuck in my throat. Over the course of 4 months it became larger. When I get a cold or am suffering from outdoor allergies, it becomes very, very painful. Almost unbearably so. It is always enlarged but becomes larger and more painful under these conditions. I have also noticed that sincethis started my memory has become significantly worse and I have a numb feeling in the middle of my back near my spine when I lay in a certain way. Much of the time I feel "foggy headed"...that's the best way I can describe it.

I have had several endoscopies done and a CT scan. They found the node was enlarged but not extremely large. They did not locate any other enlarged nodes to be concerned with. Have seen 2 ENT doctors that do not feel the need to perform a biopsy and suggest that it may just be a "reactive" node.

However, I have just found out that my uncle faught and won a battle with throat cancer last year. And i have a 2nd cousin who lost a battle with bone cancer.
I'm much more concerned about my condition now. What can I do? Shouldn't these tests have shown cancer if I had it? Should I demand a biopsy? Would that detect cancer?
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Mon Apr 18, 2005 12:23 am

User avatar jmannina,
The long duration of your symptoms, the size of the lymph nodes and the pain are all more against the diagnosis of cancer than for it. Where exactly is it located in the neck? The general procedure is to avoid a neck biopsy as much as possible even when the diagnosis of cancer is a possibility as this distorts the anatomical planes in the neck and may affect prognosis of an occult head and neck cancer should it turn out to be so. I would recommend follow up preferably with an oncologist.
 jmannina - Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:40 pm

Dr Fouad,

Thank you for the reply. It is a slightly enlarged sub-mandibular gland and is located under the jaw in between the ear lobe and my chin on the right side. I also have tmj on that side of my jaw which I have been having treated by a chiropractor and it has had great results. I thought the two could be related but the gland pain and swelling have not been reduced with the improved TMJ.


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