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Enlarged lymph nodes and nodules in the neck

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I recently found a lump on the upper right side of my neck (feels like it is attached to my throat). I went to my doctor, he told me that it is a swollen lymph node around 1cm in size with no other knots in my neck or swelling in my thyroid. With a family history of cancer (grandfather died of oral cancer at 52), I am truly concerned that the doctor cared more about my smoking (did have to ask him several times to prescribe Chantix) and not about the hard knot in my neck. My question is, what could this really be and what should my next step be? I have experienced hoarseness in the mornings and late at night, constant clogged ears, and my jaw would almost lock on me (no longer a problem after finals).

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replied December 29th, 2008
Cancers Answer A5203
It is impossible to render a diagnosis over the Internet, of course. Enlarged lymph nodes can arise from infection or inflammation in the body, or from other more serious causes. Most of the time, "reactive" lymph nodes in the neck will occur in conjunction with a sore throat or an upper respiratory infection (or, more rarely, with infection of the gums or tooth sockets), and in these cases, the enlarged lymph nodes are almost always tender to the touch. A form of cancer known as lymphoma can also arise within lymph nodes and, in contrast to reactive lymph nodes, most lymphomas are not particularly tender to the touch. Other causes of nodules in the neck include benign and malignant thyroid nodules, and benign or malignant tumors of the salivary glands

If this enlarged nodule persists, enlarges, or is followed by the development of other nodules in the neck, then a more detailed head and neck evaluation should be conducted by a qualified ENT surgeon.


Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS
A landmark, evidence-based guide to a healthy cancer-prevention lifestyle, based on cutting-edge cancer research.
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