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Metastasis under jaw line - any similar experiences?

Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi All,

I am trying to be a bit more active in this forum to not only support others but continue to voice some ongoing concerns in my own health.

Recently I noticed a small hard lump under my left jaw line. It is not on the surface but rather in the hollow inside the jaw (think if you pushed your thumbs up under your jaw line) and can only be felt when I lean my head to the left. Its moveable, hard, and painless. feels like less than 1cm.

I had two doctors this week give two different opinions. First doctor (oncologist) said it was a saliva gland - sometimes they can be hard?!?!. The second doctor (endo) said that saliva glands don't exist in that exact region and are typically soft tissue...he scanned with the ultrasound and couldn't get any good reads and consequently is sending me back to the ENT and possible MRI again.

Anyone else travel down this path? parotid tumor?, submandibular salivary gland? salivary calculus?

Personal History:
Papillary Thyroid
Right side only
hemi removal back in 3/2011

Could it possibly metastasis to that specific area in less than 12 months? It bought it would hit the lymphs first?
anyone else felt any other similar hard nodulars?

Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Yes - I've just been through a similar experience. My doctor noticed two areas where the lymph nodes didnt feel right....one near the end of my jaw bone - classified as submandibular and the other above my collarbone. AFter an ultrasounc and a PET scan, both of which said suspecious nodes, I choose have have them surgically removed.

I expected the worst - but the pathology came back as a diagnosis of reactive hyperplasia...meaning BENIGN. I've had to look up this word. The nodes were abnormal, but not cancer. phew.

My right salivary gland still hasnt quite returned to normal after my RAI in May of this year.

You may be able to have a fine needle biopsy to see if they need to come out...or ask if it could be the hyperplasia...

Good luck - hope news is good


Posts: 97
Joined: May 2011

I have had definite swollen feeling in the area you are mentioning - right below my jaw. I've been to docs several times, as well as had an ultrasound, and so far they are not noting anything odd. I am of course hyper vigilant, since it is different than normal for me, but they don't seem to think there is cause for concern - if I find anything different I will post. I've had my entire thyroid out less than a year ago and did RAI in August - I am wondering if it is a side effect of the RAI...?

Posts: 14
Joined: Oct 2011

I have had continuing trouble with my salivary glands since some months past RAI. There is one on each side under the jawline, and when they are affected they are hard. Hopefully, that is what you are experiencing. (Not that that's a treat, either!)

Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

What was the doctor's justification for only removing half of your thyroid. Typically if you have thyroid cancer they remove the whole thyroid. I would be concerned about this. If you still have half of your thyroid with a diagnosis of cancer, you can almost expect a recurrence. This is not meant to scare you but you should have had a total thyroidectomy followed by RAI four to six weeks after your thyroidectomy.

The fact that the lump is movable is a good sign but I would go back to your Endocrinologist ASAP and get some answers to what it is and the other situation I mentioned above. My metastasis occurred in six months and I had a total thyroidectomy with only the right side affected. I was only stage one with a very small node and no Lymph involvement at the time. My doctor didn't give me RAI after my thryoidectomy and that was a bad decision because I had metastasis.


Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2011

Many thanks to everyone for the input - its very much appreciated. My ENT just shared my results with me today:

1) it appears to be an enlarged lymph node (1.5cm)
2) received a second MRI to compare what was there from 12 months ago - size is within "normal range" (however on the larger end).
3) Head of Radiology at a well respected Boston hospital was invited to provide a second opinion and said that it seemed slightly smaller than last year when closely comparing the two MRIs.
4) told it shows no shape/patterns that would call for concern
5) next step is to get an ultrasound guided FNA
6) pending actions A) remain on a 6 month watch with MRI and ultrasounds B) elective surgery to remove
7) prior to the MRI, Endo did not feel or see anything on the ultrasound - however that was my exact concern given the fact that I physically felt something.
8) Thanks Julie for the input - To help answer your question, I should have mentioned it was micro-papilary (single location and less than 1cm). All 4 surgeons I interviewed recommended hemi vs. TT given the size, location, and no other lymph enlargements - however I did immediately question why this size was not considered enlarged prior and is considered enlarged now!!?!? like most patients the early discovery is good but does involve a lot of extra push with the doctors. :)

Posts: 148
Joined: Aug 2011

A FNA and ultrasound and TG should be done before any excision. Salivary glands are always firm, and some of the salivary glands are in that area.

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