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Swollen Submandibular glands (Page 1)

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For the past year and a half my submandibular glands located underneath my jaw have been a bit larger and hard - but not painful or tender.

Quick recap, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer 6 years ago, so I am very sensitive about any irregularities in my neck. I had an MRI and an ultrasound done last year (glands were larger and hard then as well), but the doctor made no comment about them about being irregular.

I recently saw an ear nose and throat doctor because I was concerned that they have not gone down. He mentioned that he was not as concerned because they are still symmetrical even though they are hard and large - and to just keep an eye on them. He believes if I were to get a biopsy it would be some sort of chronic inflammation condition, and that some people just have enlarged hard submandibular glands... But if I would like to get one to let him know.

So I am kind of in a flux - I would rather not overreact, however; the glands are obviously a huge weight on my shoulder that I rather resolve. Does anyone have any experience with similar symptoms? If there are any doctors on this board I would appreciate your advice.
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First Helper falkendrew
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replied December 24th, 2008
Hello,
just discovered your post after googling "swollen submandibular gland". I also have had papillary carcinoma of the thyroid, with total thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine treatment. I began noticing this painless nodule in my neck 3 or 4 years ago that got progressively larger. Saw several doctors, including the surgeon for my thyroidectomy and was told not to worry, and to massage the gland in order to help push saliva out. he indicated that it was likley a plugged duct. however, when I do massage it, I get a tickle in the back of my throat and I cough. I've also had some sinus issues but I'm beginning to suspect that this may have more to do with some drainage and coughing I've been experiencing this past several years.

Anyway, hope you get this and respond. I know how frustraing this can be. Best of luck and Merry Christmas,

Tim
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replied October 12th, 2009
Hi there. I also stumbled upon this post from a google search. I've been having swollen submandibular gland problems myself, only without the thyroid cancer. Mine have been sore and painful, and I get mucus coming out of my saliva duct underneath my tongue (which is attached to the gland). I've seen a doctor about it. It's a reoccurring issue. Apparently the gland keeps getting some sort of blockage in it, which causes the saliva to get backed up and infected. In your cases though, if the gland isn't getting uncomfortable or painful, and you're not getting the mucus thing, then it sounds like yours isn't blocked. If that's the case, my guess is you have some scar tissue in there related to your cancer treatment. Anything else would have shown up on the tests you've already taken. If you get reoccurring infections like I do, the best they can do is remove the gland(s). (But don't worry, you have more!)
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replied January 31st, 2012
I've had the same problem for years and after years of trying to figure out the problem, my ENT told me the glands was filling up bacteria sand secreting mucous. He suggested i brush with Biotene toothpaste and mouthwash, and milk my glands daily to prevent a build up
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replied October 12th, 2009
By the way, I'd love to hear a follow-up on how your glands have been doing!
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replied October 18th, 2009
enlarging lymph node after thyroid Cancer
hi, I also was diagnosed with Papillary and Follicular ThyCA in 07,now with enlarging submandibular lymph nodes. I have been having ultrasounds every 3 months, had a CT in june and will have another next mon. my surgeon dosent seem concerned either. he says thyroid CA dosent metastasize to the submandibular nodes. i do wonder why they are enlarging. I guess at the end of the day its not their neck. I will let you know what happens-Thanks
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replied December 14th, 2009
Hardened submandibular glands
Hi julia, Wow you sound like me. I've had non-painful chronic bilateral hardened submandibulars for a couple years now. After a clean cat scan (the gen practitioner thought they were my lymph nodes originally - ) I went to an ent who didn't seem too concerned but wasn't very forthcoming - but the question still lingers - why? Mine are still there and are the same but am starting to wonder again. If you find anything out, let me know
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replied February 24th, 2010
Thyroid Cancer & Swollen/Painful Submandibular gland - Me To
Interesting. I had a partial thyroidectomy (lobectomy)in May of 09. It was determined that it was a columnar cell variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma. A subsequent completion thyroidectomy was performed in July of 09, with Radiation therapy in August 09.
I have noticed enlarged and painful submandibular glands.
I am beginning to think, by reading the comments in this forum that this is much more than just a coincidence.

My one-year ultra sound is not scheduled until June. But I am concerned to wait that long, in the event that this is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

I wonder if anyone has any additional follow-up comments.
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replied November 27th, 2010
Hi,
I agree, after reading all of these posts tend to think this is not coincidental. I too had thyroid cancer (papillary carcinoma). I had a complete thyroidectomy in January 2010. Within the last several months, I have experienced a lot of swelling and pain in the salivary glands. It started with the submandibular glands. It was very painful under my tongue when I ate, and the glands would swell, and then return to normal. Recently, it has moved to the parotid gland below my ear. I have excruciating pain, but on and off, and only when I eat! It lasts just a short time, but it is getting progressively worse...

I find it very interesting that all of the doctors mentioned above seem to think that there is nothing to be concerned about.
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replied December 6th, 2010
I had a swollen lymph node under my jaw after the flu - it wouldn't go away. blood tests were clear & needle biopsy was inconclusive. they took it out, sent it to pathology & then told me it was squamous cell carcinoma. I'm only 35. IF YOU HAVE ANY LUMPS GET THEM REMOVED & CHECKED PROPERLY please...
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replied April 23rd, 2013
Hi,i would really appreciate any advice I have had glandular fever or mumps virus and my submandibular glands have been swollen ever since causing pain,my ent is considering removal im scared of risks numb lip permaninant damage and scares on neck I am told are 6cm long,what are your experiences from surgery,any advice appreciated..kind regars sophie
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replied March 6th, 2011
I had my thyroid removed in 2008- thyroid cancer, papillary as well- and for the past year and a half have had progressively worsening pain in my parotid gland and ear. I have five inflamed lymph nodes that never fully go down, have seen 2 ENTs, 3 dentists, my surgeon, my doctor, but nobody seems to think it's a big deal and blood tests keep turning up negative. I'm so confused and frustrated too. So strange that so many of us have similar stories.
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replied March 10th, 2011
Coincidental I don't think so either
I too was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid cancer 10 years ago, they removed my left thyroid side and two years after that cancer grew in the tissue left behind in the left side, I had alcohol ablation treatments (they shoot pure ethanol into the tumor) with no success and was followed up with Radioactive iodine treatment 6 months after that which shrunk the tumor in the left side by 50%. I am experiencing the same frustrations as you all are, terrible neck pain in my glands on my left side which scares me since I have had recurrence of the Papillary thyroid cancer and it had grown outside of my thyroid which the prognosis is worse. I am seeing an ENT as my Endocrinologist thinks my bloodwork and ultrasound I had back in October was good. I am hopeful the ENT will take a closer look at the glands in my neck and perhaps biopsy. I had a sinus infection which made them more swollen and painful, was prescribed antibiotics, I'm through with the sinus infection now but the pain is still present in the gland on the left side (coincidentally the side I had cancer in.) Don't understand why all of these doctor's act like there's no problem not related to the history of Thyroid cancer when everyone knows that the glands in the neck is the first place Papillary Thyroid cancer spreads to? Thanks for your input!
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replied April 7th, 2011
Update, I saw my ENT and he concluded that patients whom had Radioactive Iodine treatment RA131 for their thyroid cancer they can have damage to their Submandibular glands as this is the secondary gland to suck up the Radoactive Iodine like the Thyroid does. So you may be experiencing pain and tenderness in that region because that gland has suffered damage and may need to come out since there is really nothing they can do once the damage is done. It could be that or recurrence, but it is not uncommon for patients like us to suffer damage to our Submandibular gland from this treatment we recieved years ago. I am having a CT scan and he is planning on removing it and will investigate further. Good luck everyone!
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replied May 20th, 2011
Swollen Submandibular Salivary Glands
In Dec 2010 I noticed both of my submandibular salivary glands were swollen... no pain at all, just swollen. I also noticed some numbness equally distributed all over my head, cheeks, chin, lips, nose, tongue, etc... sometimes worse than others. Stress seemed to make it worse. I went to ENT in Feb and demanded a CT scan with contrast. I was found to have papillary thyroid cancer that had spread a little into a couple neck lymph nodules. The submandibular salivary glands, although swollen, looked clean and fine on the CT scan. I had a total thyroidectomy, and removal of a couple lymph nodes last month, followed by radioactive iodine treatment this month to ablate any remaining thyroid tissue and cancer. Submandibular salivary glands are still swollen, no pain ever, just swollen. Nobody knows why and they have been checked for everything by primary physician, my ENT surgeon, and the radiology oncologist that administered the RAI treatment... very strange, cannot explain it... but this all started prior to any surgery way back in Dec.... no clue what is happening, they just stay swelled up, with no pain at all. Sure wish someone knew why.
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replied June 6th, 2011
I was diagnosed with squamous cell neck cancer in march of 2010 and later after surgeries andd chemo and radiation therapy was over, months after I noticed a swellling in the lower right jaw. ENT checked it after CT scan and was told its nothing. after reading all of this stuff I amm going to make another appointment to have it biopsied.
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replied July 2nd, 2011
Please Advice based on your experience
I am experiencing a swollen submandibular gland with no pain and the ENT biopsy the lump and drained fluid. I had imediate results of it going away but now a week later it had come back with pain. My doctor wants to take the submandibular gland out, I feel it is too rushed do you think I have another option what should I do?
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replied August 26th, 2011
SWOLLEN SUBMANDIBULAR GLANDS and CANCER
I would tell the doctor to take his knife and cut on some maniquins or something....thats rediculous! Dont let them butcher you....use hot packs on it 2x a day...(Hot wet towel, but not dripping)...this will help to clear any blockages...if you have stones, or any type of blockages, reduce your salt intake and eliminate those high fat high cholesterol animal foods and watch your body heal...this is based on the Original Diet of Genesis 1:29 Fruits and Veggies....NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS....I too have swollen Submandibular glands, but realize now that it is too to WAY TOO MUCH SALT in my diet....am going on a juice fast for 3 days with CLEANSING of the LIVER and COLON etc....dont let those doctors CUT ON YOU unless you have blockages that hinder your breathing or something! CLEAN OUT YOUR BODY!....
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replied October 12th, 2014
Interesting!!! My submandibular glands have been swollen and sore for 5-6 weeks, and coincidentally I have been eating way too much salt for 6-8 weeks. I am hoping and praying that reducing salt intake will take care of my glands! I have taken one round of erithymycin, which did nothing, and now have been prescribed levaquin. I am going to try the 'holistic' approach of warm wet towels and diet, along with the levaquin, and hope this mystery will be an ache of the past.
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replied October 12th, 2011
Hi everyone I am so glad I came across this forum!
I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer 10 years ago . For the past seven months I have been experiencing pain in the right side of my neck. I went to my family doctor who brushed me off and said I should just keep on taking advil and "these things usually go away" were his words. However with my thyroid history I wasn't comfortable to just leave it so decided to just get seen by an ENT and after a cat scan I was told that there was excessive scarring in my submandibular gland,probably from radiodide treatments. I am guessing that the ENT will suggest removal of the gland, however I am extremely worried , because he had told me that sometimes during surgery they can hit or cut the nerve that controls lip movement. Would like to know if anyone has had the surgery and if you can
recommend any surgeons.
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replied January 15th, 2012
Submandibular gland swollen
I am a Hodgkin's disease survivor 1982 and the radiation caused my papillary thyroid cancer in 2004. My thyroid was removed and I received the I-131 radiation. Just this summer I had an ear infection and my left submandibular gland was swollen for 6 months. So, I had a needle biopsy which showed small lymphocytes but no thyroid cancer. I had a PET scan which was clear also. But the only way to really know it is not lymphoma is a biopsy. So I decided to get the gland removed. December 20 it was removed. The pathologists in my home town said it looked weird and sent it to MAYO Clinic. Thank God it came back clear Jan 4th. But I have an infection still today Jan 15 from the surgery and I am on antibiotics. I hope this helps. Research your surgeon. Prayers help too.
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User Profile
replied October 13th, 2011
Extremely eHealthy
Firstly, I think you should go with a surgeon recommended to you by your doctor or someone you found through your own research, not by someone on a forum. Besides, the likelihood that person would be in your area is very slim. This is the *world* wide web, after all. Smile

You also said that you only guess that the ENT will suggest removal of the gland? Since this is scar tissue, he may suggest something else. I've heard of techniques for softening scar tissue through massage and physical therapy that can be very effective. Some other people who have had thyroid removal surgery have difficulty with the tightness of their scar, even to the point where swallowing is uncomfortable and they have reported that this can help.

Basically, in Scar Therapy, the therapist teaches you how to massage and stretch the area. It might take some time to see results, but it would be a lot less risky (not to mention less expensive and less painful) than surgery. Talk to your doctor about it and see if you can find a physical therapy or medical massage clinic in your area that specializes in post surgical or post radiation scar therapy. They also might have other tools, such as ultrasound massage that could help.

Also, as a thyroid cancer survivor myself (5+ years), I have to ask: have you been getting regular follow-ups from a doctor who has experience with treating thyroid cancer, either an endocrinologist or an ENT. If not, I would highly recommend you consider doing so from here on out. You should have yearly blood tests and possibly ultrasounds to check to make sure there is no re-recurrence, even if you were at an early cancer stage.

I hope this helps. Feel free to re-post if you have more questions.
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replied October 17th, 2011
Thannks so much for your response
To answer your qns my ENT did tell me that extrication of my gland is the only way to alleviate the pain I am feeling.I have my TSH levels checked approximately three times a year by my endocrinologist and also have had a head and neck scan and several ultrasounds since my surgery . Also I am fully aware that this is the worldwide web however I am prepared to travel anywhere if i get a good recommendation, and I feel that all the people that have put up a post are genuine and getting a recommendation from one of them plus my own research wil enable me to make the best decision. It is not the thought of losing a gland that worries me but the possibility of damage to the nerve that controls lip movement, which is one of the risks with the surgery. If anyone is interested I am looking into a ENT surgeon in Beverly hills Dr Larian, also have been told to research some other
surgeons at John Hopkins. Will keep everyone posted. Thankyou so much for your info on scar therapy however the pain is not due to the scarring but due to the fact that the majority of the gland is dysfunctional, but the part that's functioning is still trying to produce saliva , and because the saliva cannot flow out of the gland it's causing pain.
Thanks again for your response
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replied December 5th, 2011
remedies for swollen submadibular gland with pain while eating
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replied February 22nd, 2012
Swollen submandibular glands
ok... So I read everyone's posts and felt like I should chime in. about 3 years ago my right submadibular gland was found to be swollen and hard. After several weeks of tests and treatments it was decided by my ENT to have the gland removed (along with some thyriods for good measure and testing). So now after 3 years, my left side is showing the same symptoms. I have an appointment scheduled tomorrow with my doctor to start the process all over again. However, based on some of your comments, it does not look like it will have to be removed. Then again, I will leave that to the doctor to decide. Than you for your posts,
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