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I have a lymph node; my mom died of cancer; what do you think?
Feb 17, 2002

Hi Doctor Bruce: I'm 29 yrs old and about 3 weeks ago I found a lymph node on my neck below the ear so I went to the doctor and he said maybe you're fighting and infection but I'm not sick and he gave this antibiotic cephalexin. I am very worried because my mom died of cancer. What do you think it is; it does not hurt. thank you Roxy

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear Roxy, I'm sorry to hear about your mom. It is not unusual to be very worried about cancer after a loved-one dealt with this disease. That said, the vast majority of lymph nodes are nothing more than the body's attempt at fending off an infection. Most lymph nodes can be safely ignored. We worry about lymph nodes when they are associated with symptoms such as fever, chills, night sweats, and weight loss; when they are progressive (i.e., continue to grow); or when one lymph node is way out of proportion to the other lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are particularly common in the neck, the arm pit, and the groin since these are sites where folks often develop infections. In HIV-negative folks, most lymph nodes will resolve after a few weeks (if not, get them checked out). In HIV-positive folks, lymph nodes tend to hang around. (Please refer to my other response posted today entitled "are lymph nodes constant in HIV/AIDS?)


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