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One more armpit follow-up; What do you do about lymph nodes which neither grow nor shrink?
Nov 8, 2002

I appreciate your quick response to my questions, your help is such a nice service. Just so I understand, you said wait at least 2 months before I re-evaluate the nodes. I am fine with that. At that time if the nodes have not enlarged and I dont have any other symptoms, would you be comfortable with leaving them alone, or should I still be considering biopsy. On the other hand, if there has been growth in them at that time I should certainly biopsy them. Is this correct? Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Dezube

It's easy to know what to do with lymph nodes that continue to enlarge-- you biopsy them or take them out completely. It's much harder to know what to do with chronic persistent lymph nodes, which neither shrink nor grow. Alot depends if there is a good reason for them. For example, HIV'ers have chronically enlarged nodes which do not necessarily need to be biopsied. Cat lovers frequently have enlarged lymph nodes and so on. If there are no reasons for the lymph nodes and a patient is feeling absolutely well, then the lymph nodes can often be followed for a while. However, eventually the patient or the health care provider just doesn't feel comfortable with this approach and consequently many of my patients will get these lymph nodes biopsied. A biopsy is a very simple procedure and it certainly buys a lot of "peace of mind". We often say "when in doubt, take it out".

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