Medical Questions > Cancer > Lymphoma Forum

Abnormal Lymph Nodes on CT Scan of chest

My 25 year old son has had several episodes of upper abdominal pain, with the pain increasing with a deep breath. He saw a new doctor (thankfully) during the last episode, who scheduled a chest x-ray which showed "non-specific areas." Upon review of the radiology report, the doctor called my son (who was out of town at the time) and set up a ct scan of the chest. Within an hour after the ct scan the doctor called my son and said it showed "abnormal lymph nodes." The doctor now is recommending a lymph node biopsy. He hasn't seen the doctor since the first visit, it's all been through phone calls so he hasn't had the opportunity to sit down with the doctor and ask all the questions he has yet. It's all happening very fast. It is my understanding that an incision will be made in the neck area, so I am assuming that either partial or entire lymph node(s) will be removed instead of just a needle biopsy. Some of my questions are: What do abnormal lymph nodes on a chest ct scan indicate? What all will be looked for in the biopsy? Are biopsies of this type definitive? How accurate are the biopsies? All information and shared experiences will be helpful and appreciated. Thanks from a very worried mom.
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied July 10th, 2010
While needle biopsies of abnormal lymph nodes can often provide a diagnosis, removing an entire lymph node generally allows for a more accurate diagnosis.

Lymph nodes can be enlarged due to multiple causes, including infection, lymphoma (a type of cancer that occurs within multiple lymph nodes), or metastatic cancer (i.e., a cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes from some other place in the body).

I hope that your son's lymph node biopsy will not reveal any serious illnesses.

Sincerely/ Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

A landmark, evidence-based guide to a healthy cancer-prevention lifestyle, based on cutting-edge cancer research.
Did you find this post helpful?
DISCLAIMER: "Ask a Doctor" questions are answered by certified physicians and other medical professionals. For more information about experts participating in the "Ask a Doctor" Network, please visit our medical experts page. You may also visit our Lymphoma , for moderated patient to patient support and information.

The information provided on eHealth Forum is designed to improve, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician. Personal consultation(s) with a qualified medical professional is the proper means for diagnosing any medical condition.