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I'm really scared for my friend's lymph node
Apr 14, 2002

Hi...My friend found out he is HIV Positive yesterday....he's only 19 and very scared. He has a bunch of enlarged nodes around his neck, behind his ears, under his arms, and in his groin area. They removed a particularly large one from his neck yesterday (they chose that one because he was having difficulty swallowing) and they are sending it off for testing. I'm so angry because he has been seeing the doctors for months now and they just now said it might be cancerous...before they were just giving him shots of penicillin. I'm really worried becuase if this is cancerous, shouldn't they try and tell him sooner? I mean the sooner he starts getting treatment the better off he his, right? Please tell me how serious this is...he won't die, will he?

a scared and slightly hysterical friend, Kelly

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear Kelly: Emotions certainly run high around the time of an HIV diagnosis. This is certainly understandable. I wouldn't jump to conclusions and assume your friend has cancer. Although an enlarged lymph node in an HIV patient can represent cancer, more likely than not, the enlarged lymph nodes represent either an infection or simply a response to the HIV infection. I understand your fear. Your friend needs to first find out what his HIV doctors are planning for him. Typically the anxiety settles down once there's a plan of action. Feel free to write back to me. BD.


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