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Thread: Swollen, hard lymph nodes in head and neck...

  1. #1
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    Swollen, hard lymph nodes in head and neck...

    Hi everyone,

    I'm feeling like a bit of a silly hypochondriac lately as my doctor doesn't seem to be taking me seriously, so I was hoping for a little help from the kind people on this forum?

    I have been experiencing several strange, uncomfortable and painful symptoms for at least the past year and never once though of cancer until I discovered 2 rock hard, non-moveable bumps on the lower left hand side of my head (scalp). I have had one hard bump right at the bottom of my scalp where the neck ends for at least a year, but another one has become noticeable just above it so I thought a visit to the doctor was in order. My doctor instantly tried to dismiss the bumps at first without even feeling them properly, she said they were lymph nodes that had probably swollen due to a local infection and that they would go on their own. I haven't got and haven't had any infections in the last few months at least, plus I have had several blood tests for various things back in October which all came back normal. I then started to question her on what she defined as 'normal nodes' and she said moveable, small and soft, so I asked her to feel the nodes on my head again and she then finally agreed mine were infact fixed and hard, she then pointed out 3 more swollen nodes in my neck that I hadn't even noticed but continued to tell me it's due to an infection and to come back in a month!

    I'm a 25 year old female who is otherwise reasonably healthy so I realise I'm not in a high risk age bracket, but I couldn't help to feel a little uneasy at her dismissiveness.

    The thing is, I have been back and to to my doctor for the past few months due to recurring pain in my left side just under my ribs - it's a localised pain and it can get really bad. I feel sick with it sometimes and experience other symptoms such as feeling cold but my face and neck will be red hot (this happens almost daily) and headaches around my temples (pressure and stabbing). My doctor just dismissed this as IBS. Isn't the spleen located on the left?

    Now aside from the above, I have also been experiencing other symptoms but I have never told my doctor about these as I thought they were normal and unconnected to IBS. After the visit to the doctor last week in connection to the nodes I have started to read up on my other symptoms and making connections. Starting to get pretty worried that it may be Hodgkins Lymphoma

    Since the doctors visit I have also discovered another hard lymph node next to the other 2 on my scalp (now in a triangular formation) and my right tonsil has swollen up but no sore throat.

    Here is a list of my other symptoms that I have but have never thought twice about until I started using the dreaded Google!

    • October: Pain started in left side, under ribs. Blood tests done- normal
    • November: Pain in left side worse after eating, especially when move to right hand side
    • Chest pains also noticed along with feverish symptoms and night sweats and headaches (pressure and stabbing)
    • Originally 2 swollen lymph nodes on left side back of head / scalp (noticed in Nov)
    • Doctor visit (23.11.12) – felt 3 additional small firm but moveable nodes on left side neck, told me not to worry, must be an infection somewhere. Come back in 1 mnth
    • Headaches daily
    • High temperature yet cold, no cold or flu symptoms
    • Another bump detected. Now 3 bumps , size of beans within cm’s of each other. Hard, bone like, non-moveable. Fixed. Skin moves over them.
    • 2 days ago: right tonsil swelled up in the night. Slightly white but no pain at all
    • yesterday: Pain in centre/right back neck when moving
    • Pain in left lymph node under jaw when drinking wine or eating something really sweet, only happens now and again (1 yr+)
    • intermittent stabbing pains all over, mainly tops of arms, left shoulder, left neck and left abdo / chest under ribs
    • Very hot head / face / neck most the time
    • Itchy scalp and general all over itchiness

    Please somebody help me as I'm going out of my mind, I just need someone to take me seriously as I don't fancy another embarassing doctors appointment.

    Thanks for your patience in reading through my essay! LOL!

    x

  2. #2
    Top User april51's Avatar
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    Print these symptoms off and go back to your doctor with an advocate that won't take no for an answer, or find another doctor. You are right for being worried and make them send you to a specialist. What kind I don't know but someone on here will. Jody

    Oh, I don't mean I think you have cancer, but let's be sure right?
    May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour. Born 1960. Diagnosed 4/2011 with one tumor, LUL, NSCLC. Tumor size 1.1 inches. Thoracic surgery 6/1/2011. No action taken. Eight weeks of radiation and chemo. Carbo and Taxol. Follow up with four rounds of Carbo and Alimta.
    December 2011 CT scan shows all clear.
    April 2012 CT scan shows all clear. July 2012 had several x-rays taken at the chiropractor for shoulder pain. Took them to the onc and nothing suspicious noted. See them again in Oct.
    October didn't work out. Pain in the left shoulder continued to worsen and lymph nodes in the supraclavical swelled so I called the onc and they bumped the regular scan up to September 19 and we went for the results on the 24th. The tumor is back and the spread is extensive. Option 1: Try targeting chemos that may work and then on to clinical trials. These would give me about a year or so if the cancer responds. Option 2: Do no treatment and let nature take its course. This will give me six months give or take. As good as I feel right now, I’m going for door #2 and will continue to live well and enjoy myself until I don’t. I’ll keep you posted. Live it up everyone!

    7 months into hospice and palliative care. It has been a very good relationship with the organization as a whole with a minor glitch. April 2013 spent the night at hospice facility, PICC line inserted for morphine drip. I said I wouldn’t but, had a hospital bed delivered. Started 10 rounds of palliative radiation to shrink the neck tumor. Busy month for me!

    I've taken a couple of nasty falls this last week. (first of & mid-May) Right on the cancer shoulder. So I have a life alert necklace on me now. I wish I could get my hands on a small scooter!

    There is another node swelling on the other side of my neck. Still small.

    April51's (Jody) daughter posted that her Mother's journey in this world had ended on July 8th 2013.You touched so very many lives. Soar high Jody!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Top User Hope2012's Avatar
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    Completely agree with April. I had many of the same symptoms you mention years ago. Swollen nodes, headaches, muscle and joint pain (lower back, under ribs, neck, shoulders, head), extreme fatigue etc. I was very worried something was very wrong with me. The worry and anxiety caused things like eating and digestive issues, loss of sleep, exhaustion...which only made it harder for my body to heal at all. Of course I thought it may be cancer...as there is a history in my family, but it turned out a simple sinus infection caused chronic sinusitis.

    Get things checked out by someone who will listen to you. You are very young...insist on testing...or referral to a specialist. I went to my family doctor, allergist, ENT, had xrays, test etc etc etc before I was diagnosed.

    Good luck!
    This dark night shall end and the sun will rise again...
    Believe

    - Dad diagnosed in 1992 with primary bladder cancer
    - bladder removed and new one made from resected intestine
    - chemotherapy regimen started
    - mets to large intestines discovered in 1993...more chemo...tumors disappearing
    - complained of neck pain Dec 1994. Mets to brainstem confirmed
    - passed away Feb 24, 1995

  4. #4
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    Thankyou to both Hope and April for your prompt replies. I do feel a little silly as I know it's probably something really simple that's causing this but it's just a little worrying that one of the hard lymph nodes has been present for months, maybe longer and now more are appearing.

    I'm starting to notice more symptoms and have been keeping a log for the last week but it could just be a case of me noticing these symptoms because I've read about them, viscious cycle i suppose!

    The main things that are worrying me are the 3 hardened fixed lymph nodes on my head and the fact that every now and again when I drink wine I get a severe sharp pain under my jaw where I know lymph nodes are located.

    I'm located in the UK so I have to go through the NHS and can only go to my regular surgery, but I will insist on tests in the new year if it hasn't subsided.

    PS. I read your profile, April and it puts things in to perspective. I wish you the best of luck if you decide to go for treatment, hope everything works out. Take care x

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Top User Hope2012's Avatar
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    I have a friend who was experiencing pain in her breast. She'd poke at it all the time, scared it was cancer. She had a mammogram. Her doctor said to stop poking at it and lo and behold it stopped hurting!

    One step at a time. You are young. Look into everything including allergies. Allergic reactions can cause lymph nodes to react. There are many things it can be...not everything (actually, very rarely are they in someone your age) is cancer.

    Good luck!
    This dark night shall end and the sun will rise again...
    Believe

    - Dad diagnosed in 1992 with primary bladder cancer
    - bladder removed and new one made from resected intestine
    - chemotherapy regimen started
    - mets to large intestines discovered in 1993...more chemo...tumors disappearing
    - complained of neck pain Dec 1994. Mets to brainstem confirmed
    - passed away Feb 24, 1995

  6. #6
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    Re: Swollen, hard lymph nodes in head and neck

    Hi,

    I know it has been several months since your post, but I have been experiencing very similar symptoms since September. I am 27 and also appear in good health; in addition, routine blood work (CBC, metabolic panel and ESR) has come back normal. My doctor has brushed my symptoms off as an infection for the last six months. Some friends and family have suggested stress. I seriously considered both of these suggestions, but my symptoms persist and my overall performance level is continuing to decrease. My symptoms are quite extensive and so I'm not sure if they are all related, but they seem extremely similar to yours (swollen nodes in neck, especially hard near base of skull, fatigue, heaviness of limbs and head, poking or prodding sensations in rib cage and clavicle area, flushed face, hands and feet, hands and feet will also turn white or become numb, tingling sensations that run down my arm mainly on right side where hardest node is, abdominal pain and shortness of breath, headaches, weight loss, sweating, itching and craving sweets, also fluctuations in mood and difficulty with memory and expressing myself verbally). I know that these symptoms can indicate a number of ailments, but I keep having the feeling that the hard node near the base of my skull-neck is creating a great deal of these issues. My family doctor along with an infectious disease specialist have brushed this off as barely enlarged lymph nodes. Anyway, I guess I just wondered if you were still experiencing these issues or if you had received a diagnosis?

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Top User Hope2012's Avatar
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    Hello Yana

    I'm hoping that since the original poster hasn't returned that it means it wasn't cancer. In fact, cancer is the least likely cause but people naturally jump to the worst case scenario. You have done the right thing in pursuing answers from your doctors so I'd suggest you keep on that course of action until someone can tell you what's going on with you. If you read my comments in this thread, then you will see I went through a similar thing. I had the symptoms for 18 months and they just went away an I've been healthy ever since. Hopefully yours is much the same. Good luck!
    This dark night shall end and the sun will rise again...
    Believe

    - Dad diagnosed in 1992 with primary bladder cancer
    - bladder removed and new one made from resected intestine
    - chemotherapy regimen started
    - mets to large intestines discovered in 1993...more chemo...tumors disappearing
    - complained of neck pain Dec 1994. Mets to brainstem confirmed
    - passed away Feb 24, 1995

  8. #8
    Administrator Top User Didee's Avatar
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    Hello.
    Welcome to The Cancer Forums. We of the forum are not doctors (or, if there are any, they are in hiding...), we are simply a loose-knit group of lymphoma patients and caregivers, using our shared experiences to support one another.

    In our limited area of expertise, we are qualified to provide informal support for those who have actually been diagnosed with lymphoma, or to provide informal support for those who care for those who have actually been diagnosed with lymphoma.

    If there is no lymphoma diagnosis, then there is nothing that we can do to help you.

    That is an important point, so allow me to repeat it with emphasis.

    If there is no lymphoma diagnosis, then there is nothing that we can do to help you.

    The reason that we cannot help you is because there is no way for us to tell what, if anything, is wrong. Most of the common symptoms for lymphoma are also caused by many other things; cold, influenza, infection, allergy, other forms of cancer, constant prodding of a node, menopause, hypochondria, cannibal laughing sickness...they range from the mundanely common to the ridiculously rare, with lymphoma being one of the rarer reasons. Even a doctor cannot tell whether or not you have lymphoma, regardless of how detailed an explanation of your symptoms you can give. The only way that lymphoma can be diagnosed is with a biopsy of a suspicious node or tissue.

    What we can tell you is that, in the past, out of the hundreds of people over the years that have come here worrying about lymphoma, only about 1% of them came back to say that they were, in fact, diagnosed with some form of lymphoma. That number is both small enough for us to say that what you have is probably is not lymphoma, and large enough for us to say that we cannot tell you that what you have is definitely not lymphoma. In other words, we cannot tell you anything, other than to say to see a doctor for further consultation if you remain concerned.

    Should the unfortunate diagnosis of lymphoma ever come for you, then we will of course welcome you to this forum with open arms. Until that time, to put it bluntly, it is not really appropriate for you to be posting here. Any such inappropriate posts may be subject to deletion and/or disciplinary action at the discretion of the moderators and administrators.

    If you need financial help in getting the tests necessary to help determine the cause of your symptoms, please utilize the Financial Issues Forum. Both areas already have a wealth of information that may answer any lingering questions that you have; if not, people on those forums will be happy to discuss your concerns with you as necessary.

    Thank you in advance for your understanding.
    Good luck and best wishes.
    Aussie, age 57
    1987 CIN 111. Cervix lasered, no further problems.

    Dx Peripheral T Cell Lymphoma stage 2B bulky, aggressive Dec/09.
    6 chop14 and Neulasta.
    Clean PET April/10, 18 rads 36gy mop up. All done May 2010
    Iffy scan Nov. 2011.
    Scan Feb 2012 .still in remission.
    Still NED Nov 2012. On to yearly bloods now.

    May/2012. U/sound, thyroid scan, FNB. Benign adenoma. A lump in otherwords, nodule if you wish to be specific.

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