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Lumps and low red blood cell count

My daughter who is just 21 years old was told about a year ago that she for some reason has a low red blood cell count by a military doctor, at the time she failed to tell them she had a lump in her arm pit. She didn't think anything was wrong because she was breast feeding her son and thought it might have something to do with it. After relocating to another base and having a second child, she still has the lump in her arm pit and an even larger one in the other arm pit. She saw her doctor today about them and was given antibiotics to try first with a follow up in 2 weeks. I have read up some about lymphoma and fear this could be the problem. Do you have some suggestions on how she should proceed, or things she should say to her doctor so she is sure to get the info she needs? I'm afraid of her getting lost in the system again.
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replied June 14th, 2009
Lumps in the armpit can arise from a variety of conditions. In lactating women, the breast can enlarge to the extent that the tail of the breast, which lies in the armpit region, can become enlarged as well ("axillary breast tissue"). When this is present, it is an entirely benign condition. Breast masses can occasionally arise in the same area of the breast (axillary tail of the breast), and when they are present, they should be evaluated just like any other breast mass, in order to determine whether they are benign or malignant. Finally, there are numerous lymph nodes in the armpit area. Most of the time, enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit are due to benign inflamamtory or infectious causes. Occasionally, however, axillary lymh nodes can become enlarged due to malignant causes, including primary malignancy of the lymph nodes (lymphoma) or secondary malignancy of the lymph nodes (metastatic cancer).

A visit with a qualified general surgeon would be a good place for your daughter to start, in order to begin to sort out these various possibilities in her case.

Sincerely/ 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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