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Lymph nodes- how much of a size difference would cause you concern?
May 26, 2003

hello. I am an anxious person by nature however and have some questions about (not again) lymph nodes. I have palpable nodes in my groin and one is slightly larger than the other. I know you said this can be worrisome, and wondered how much of a size difference would cause you concern? They are both 1cm or smaller and I understand that size is no definitive way of marking "danger", yet I am still worried about one being more raised than the other. Please answer as best you can, it would really help me make some sense of my body. Thank you!

Response from Dr. Dezube

I have indeed mentioned that lymph nodes are more worrisome if one is out of proportion to the other. There's no firm rule-of-thumb as to what difference would make me worry. I usually am more worried about lymph nodes if they occur in the setting of systemic symptoms (fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss), if they are greater than 2 centimeters, If one is out of proportion to the others (e.g. 2-3 times as big). Most patients with HIV disease have enlarged lymph nodes-- they are to be expected. For most lymph nodes, a period of observation of 4-6 weeks is usually enough to see if they shrink by themselves. Alternatively if the lymph nodes grow that's more worrisome. Anyway, these are rough guidelines which help health care providers decide whether they should proceed with the next step, which is usually a biopsy.

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