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multiple lymph nodes in neck region; should i be concerned of lymphoma?
Oct 28, 2001

I had a risky exposure. I had slight pain in neck since then but no swelling. I recently got a CT scan, which shows multiple small nodes both sides and one subcentimeter lymphnode right side of neck. In the last 10 months, I have taken seven HIV tests. Would you suggest a lymph node biopsy. Should I be concerned of lymphoma. I have had these nodes for last 7 months.PLEASE HELP ME.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Enlarged lymph nodes are a very common finding. They are usually nothing more than a body trying to fight off infection. They are VERY common in HIV'ers. You state that "you took 7 HIV tests", but you didn't state the result-- are you positive or negative? I get many queries of the type "could this be lymphoma?". Indications to biopsy a lymph nodes are persistence of lymph nodes, no other explanation for the lymph nodes, if one lymph node is out of proportion to the other lymph nodes, if you have systemic symptoms (fever, chills, nights sweats, weight loss), lymph nodes in unusual locations, and so on.

In your case, I would recommend having one of the lymph nodes biopsied. I base this recommendation on the fact that you have already had a CT scan confirming these lymph nodes; these nodes have perisisted for 7 months, you don't have an alternative explanation for them, you are expending a good deal of mental energy on the subject and losing sleep. Biopsy is the only way of getting an answer. A biopsy is a relatively minor surgical procedure. My guess is that the biopsy will come back negative. If the biopsy does show anything, please write back.

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