How many lymph node biopsies should I have?


I have 2 golf ball size lymphnodes in my abdomen. They were noticed on a CT Scan I had done while in the hospital being treated for a C-Diff infection due to previous antibiotics that I had after a disk surgery. All blood work has come back normal and I've certainly had alot of it. A biopsy of one of the lymphnodes showed that it was a reactive lymphnode. My doctor is still concerned and I am having more blood work and another biopsy. I am going crazy during all this. Shouldn't my blood work and biopsy be enough or would you suggest another biopsy? FYI--- I have no other symptoms of Lymphoma (like night sweats, chills, fever, itching etc.)


You have had one of your lymph nodes biopsied which showed that it was a "reactive lymph node", in other words no evidence of cancer. The question is whether or not to have the other lymph node biopsied. There is no single correct answer since some physicians would "wait and see" and others would biopsy it to be sure no cancer or infection is lurking in the other lymph node. In general I tend to biopsy the first lymph node and then take a "wait and see" attitude with the other lymph nodes if a patient is without symptoms. If a patient has symptoms, I tend to be more aggressive and so I recommend 2nd and 3rd lymph node biopsies. Sometimes I order a gallium scan which is a type of x-ray which can help distinguish between lymph nodes which harbor lymphoma vs. those that do not.