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Concerned about lymphoma

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2015

About a year and a half ago I had a lump show up on the back of my neck.   I believe it is the occipital lymph node.  It is about 1.5 cm from my best guess.   Other than the lump I feel just fine.   I also have a small node behind my right ear and a couple under my jaw.  About a year ago I had an ER doctor feel it and he said it's just a normal lymph node and not to worry.   A few months ago another doctor feel the occipital node and brushed it off as nothing.   I also have a history of fatty lipomas on my legs/back.  I am a 30 year old male.  Should I push more and get a biopsy or continue to just watch it?  It does cause some soreness in my neck but that may be because I'm always touching it.  I have not noticed it grow over the past year and a half.   


Thanks in advance

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3705
Joined: May 2012


These nodes cannot be "nothing," or you and the doctors would not be able to feel them.  What gives me slight concern is that there are several scattered around in a localized region of the body, and that they have persisted for over a year.  The neck/jaw area has one of the body's main concentrations of nodes (other large groupings are in the pelvic area, and the armpits). There are some nodes in the legs, but they are usually so deep that they are not ordinarily "feelable" or visable at the surface.

If you have a good relationship with the doctor, I would ask him for some testing.  Him having touched the node means almost nothing, because there is not a way that a cancerous verses a non-cancerous but swollen node feels.  If you do not have a good relationship, I would go to another doctor and ask for additional testing.  The cheapest initial test is blood panels. He may or may not do aspiration (needle draw) biopsies in his office, but that is probably the next cheapest test, and a CT is (probably) the most expensive.  Since insurance compaies are most likely involved, they might want to only pay for the blood work as "medically justified."  The particulars of all of this you can get only from the doctor.

"Feeling OK" does not really indicate anything regarding lymphoma; some people have extreme fatigue, some people feel nothing, and most are somewhere in between. The most common warning signs of lymphoma are (1) extreme fatigue, (2) feeling enlarged nodes, and (3) night sweats.  I was disagnosed at stage 3 lymphoma, very widespread (all over the body), but I never had symptoms 2 or 3 at all (no enlarged nodes detectable anywhere). The surgeon who then took my biopsy node from my armpit said it was golf ball sized, although I am a small guy, and was not overweight.

Any form of "pain" from lymphoma is rare, and usually involves nodes pressing against some internal organ. Cancerous nodes can hurt or not hurt, be sore or not sore, so as I said, feeling ok is not indicative of much at this point (my nodes were NOT sore, and did NOT hurt). 

A CBC/Metabolic blood panel is not terribly expensive and worth the peace of mind it would bring.   Several of the regualrs here over the years were told for long periods that their concerns were "nothing" before they were finally diagnosed. 

My layman's advice is that you calmly but methodically have this checked.  It is very possible that it is NOT lymphoma, butr that is well worth verifying,



Sten's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Jonesy32,

Since you are worried, see a specialist to check this out.

Good luck!


Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2015

hi, dont want to cause you extra worry but in my case, my gp, endocrinologist and plastic surgeon told me the tiny bump behind my ear was a fatty lipoma.  i had no symptoms and my blood work was fine. it turned out to be Stage 1 follicular lymphoma. Having it checked out allowed me to catch it before it developed into something worse. Your case may be totally different but if you are worried have it checked out! Best of luck!

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