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Obsessing over a lymph node
Jun 27, 2003

First, thank you for providing this service which goes above and beyond the call. I'm a 20 year old male, first noticed a lymph node in the right side of my neck (the posterior triangle) about 2 1/2 years ago. I didn't think much of it. However, I recently "re-discovered" the node and have since become obsessed with it. It never goes away, but also stays consistent in its size and shape and is also painless. Recently (within the past month) I began having night sweats, that might indicate an underlying illness. Then I became terrified that I may have lypmhoma. However, I have experienced no weight loss, or fevers. I have even gained 10-15 pounds in the last 9 months, and my appetite has remained consistent. I went to the doctor at my university, and he said not to worry about it that it could just be what he called a "scarred lymph node." I can't really feel any other nodes and wouldn't be overly worried if it weren't for the night sweats, which seem to stop when I cool down the room or use fewer covers. Could the sweats be caused simply because I worry so much about this node? How worried should I be about this? Thanks in advance.

Response from Dr. Dezube

I have posted on many occasions guidelines on how to tell worrisome nodes from less worrisome nodes. Even with these guidelines, however, from time to time some folks, such as you, obsess over one specific lymph node. My recommendation would be to have the lymph node removed. It's a relatively minor procedure. Hopefully that will take care of your obsession. If you do get it taken out, and you just find another object to obsess over, then I would recommend professional help. For many patients, just removing the source of obsession is enough to bring peace of mind.

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