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swollen lymph node and i am Freakng out!

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a long time ago (maybe a month?) i noticed that a lymph node on the left side of my neck seemed to be larger than the other one. i thought nothing of it. a week ago, i randomly started feeling it and pushing it around, touching it a whole lot. it didn't seem that large or hard or anything, just bigger than the other one.

the very next day, my lymph node was HUGE. it kept getting bigger and bigger and pretty soon it was super hard, enlarged but not really painful to touch. it was like this all during school, but when i got home it was back to the previous size.

since then, it hasn't enlarged as much anymore but it hasn't totally disappeared either. i'm EXTREMELY worried about it since the only answer i seem to get from the internet is cancer. right now, it's pretty large, not tender and firm, which seems to mean that my chances are pretty bad. i don't know if the previous experience i described is consistent or not with cancer, however. the lymph node seems to be fluctuating in size slightly, but not as dramatically as that one day.

i have no other symptoms as far as i can tell. i'm just really worried and this is very stressful for me.
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First Helper User Profile Gaelic
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replied May 28th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
swim,

Enlarged lymph nodes within the cervical chain are very common. Since they drain the face and scalp, anything from a mild sore throat to acne can cause an enlarged node. Also, palpating a lymph node can actually make it larger, so it is advised not to do that.

Once a lymph node has been enlarged, when it goes down it is very common for it to stay slightly larger than uninvolved nodes. These are referred to a shotty-nodes, they have done their job and now they are really not needed. So, when a doctor notices shotty-nodes, they know there has probably been some inflammation in the region in the past.

As they teach in medical school, common things are common, when you hear hoof beats, think of horses, not zebras. So, most likely, your enlarged node was from a mild inflammatory process, rather than cancer. True, cancer can occur, but it really isn't all that common.

To quiet your fears, you can see your physician. He/she can do an exam and any studies necessary. In very rare cases, a biopsy of the node can be done, but that is usually not necessary. But, again, if you are that "freaked out", then see your doctor.

Good luck.
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Users who thank Gaelic for this post: swimxchick 

replied May 29th, 2011
actually, i've suffered with acne for a while now (i'm 16 years old) and was recently put on antibiotics to combat it. is it possible that they have anything to do with the lymph node?

anyway, i'm going to try and go to a doctor soon just for my own peace of mind.
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replied May 29th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
swim,

Absolutely. The job of the lymph nodes is to filter out bacteria and debris before it can get into the bodily systems. So, that is actually a very common cause of cervical chain lymph node enlargement.

You might have mentioned it to the doctor who prescribed your antibiotics, as he/she would have been able to check the node out for you. But, any physician can check it out too.

Good luck with your acne. Take your antibiotics just as prescribed, as they are not benign. Hopefully, they will clear up the problem.

Take care.
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replied September 9th, 2012
lymphnodes in the neck
hi..i am a flight attendant and recently was diagonised with lymphnodes in my neck in cervical region.they are not painful nothing at all.neither i feel i am sick or any health problem like fever,tiredness,fatigue or weight loss.i have done my blood test and ultra sound.blood test reports are normal and my haemoglobin is 13.5.and in ultrasound it has come that the biggest size of lymphnode ic 1.5cm on the left side of my neck.my company has asked me to do ct scan.does it really gonna affect my flying career as they also want to know?
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