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ct results update

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

ok, i went to the ent today that the new oncologist recommended.  he asked why i was there and i told him the doctor wanted me to see him to be scoped.  i also told him that i just had a ct on 2/28 and it said i have a lymph node that had grown from 9 mm on last scan to 13 mm on this scan and we were doing another scan in 2 months to check on it.  well, he did feel on my neck and looked down my throat but said, "you need to see your surgeon right away, not me.  you need to see him b/c he is the one to do the biopsy.  with your case history, i don't think the "wait and see" method is good for you."  he also said that there is no reason to scope me b/c they took out the voice box so maybe check ups are different for laryngectomee's.  

the verbatim from the ct report is:  there is a mildly prominent 13 mm left submandibular lymph node.  this was present but has increased slightly in size when compared to prior study.

so, i see my surgeon on wed, march 12.  now here is my question, if the surgeon wants a biopsy, is that something he does right then?  i'm assuming it will be a FN biopsy.  if so, how long does it take and will i first get a shot to numb the neck?  i've read that 2 things that make a lymph node grow is infection and cancer.  honestly, i believe the cancer is back and i'm very worried what tx will be offered/recommended.  i've heard neck dissection mentioned but I can't imagine that.  so now i'm just waiting for wednesday.  oh how we cancer patients love the waiting game.....lol

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4320
Joined: May 2012


My ENT did the FN biopsy in his office, no numbing necessary.  Of course my lump was visible and he was able to hold between his fingers for a good shot with the needle.  My ENT was my surgeon.

You know the H&N mantra, don’t borrow trouble.  Be it easier said than done.

This is why you are getting up to speed with your check-ups, so you will know your condition.  I am thinking after all settles down you will be fine.


Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

My FN biopsy was a seperate appt.  Mine was ultrasound guided.  About 1 hour.  For me there was a numbing shot before biopsy.  Neck dissection was not a horrible as it sounds.  If it is 'c,' it is doable.  Hopefully nothing, but better to get it checked, and sooner rather than later is the best.  Yes, we do learn to wait.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

is more ways to get a FNB than I ever imagined, three answers and three variations Smile.....I got mine in my ENT's office, and he DID numb the area before doing the biopsy....My node was also very visable.  The whole procedure took maybe 45 minutes (that includes setting the necessary equipment up, and getting my neck numb).  I'm glad that you don't have to wait a month or something to get into the surgeon, Deb....a week is bad enough. 

If it comes down to a neck dissection for treatment....keep in mind that most of the folks here who have had them....and then went on to have chemo and rads say the dissection was a cake walk in comparison.....most everyone being discharged from the hospital in just 3 or 4 days....and to date, I haven't heard any of them complain about the scar.....these Drs. seem to be very adept at hiding them.  If you end up with one, it will be ok....HONEST!! 

Remember....we're right here with you.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009


I did my biopsy in the chair while my ENT was scooping me, it was OK until she hit a spot close to a nerve and I screamed she backed off and said I am sorry did that hurt; Da what do you think doc. Anyway it did not take long but was a little uncomfortable as she was digging in my sinus area. I am still praying for you sister that it is not C just keep your faith and no matter what it is God will give you the strength to bear the trial before you

God Bless and keep you while in His Workshop

Tim Hondo

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

what you wrote on the 26th....the day you went to the new Dr.  Then two days later you were celebrating your 2 year anniversary....you were celebrating both events.  Therefore, take the words "I believe the cancer is back"....and toss them behind you.  This time of year, any one of us could be fighting the germs that abound around us everywhere we go....we're always inside, and folks around us are doing their thing even tho their coughing and hacking, blowing their noses, wiping kids's noses (then touching the friut and veggies in the store).....and laryngetomies are more vulnerable because they don't use their nose to filter things.  Didn't you just have a bug and you were talking about trying to blow your nose, but couldn't?? 

I personally will not believe that the cancer is back....only the words on the scan report, and the ENT's words put you into this thought pattern....and at this juncture there is no reason to go there....borrowing trouble is what my old auntie used to call it.... You don't have to do that!!!


PS....I guess I learned something here, too.....I thought ENT's were the surgeons for the head and neck.....that this was their specialty, just like a heart surgeon does hearts, and a thorasic surgeon does the chest.....

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

My ENT that Dx me, was the MD that did the surgery to take the tonsils out, and did a quick read biopsy as well as the scopes, exams, etc... The tissue was sent out for results for HPV though.


Duggie88's picture
Posts: 703
Joined: Feb 2010

Sitting and waiting is the toughest part of the process. I am sitting in the boat with Phran celebrating your 2 years while awaiting the all clear from the surgeon. 


Posts: 761
Joined: Apr 2012

Debbie, our local ENT scoped my husband on every visit before and after his laryngectomy.   In fact it was our local ENT who did the first two biopsies and they were great doctors who knew what they were talking about.  But they didn't do the surgery my husband needed and they referred him to the H&N specialist.   Our H&N specialist scoped my husband both before and after surgery (my husband decided all follow up procedures would be by the H&N specialist.  He was just tired of going to our local ENT one month and then the H&N specialist the next).   They went thru his nose and down his throat.  Even the radiologist/oncologist scoped my husband during some of the visits.   Two biopsies my husband had done were done as outpatient procedures and one he was kept in the hospital for a few days because they had to do a trach (this was before the laryngectomy).  And just because the vocal cords are gone doesn't mean there is no need for scoping in the doctor's office. 

Personally I am finding that too many healthcare professionals and that includes doctors don't know anything about laryngectomees.  Even our hospice doesn't know and I am forever explaining supplies that are needed and how my husband breathes.  This is scary because when you have no voice you can't explain anything and if you have no one to help care for you, it is really scary especially since once you are a laryngectomy and the way you breath is very different.

Wishing you the best -- Sharon

catfish_58's picture
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 2013

Not sure about the biopsy prcedure but I'll send prayers that it's just a mild infection or something small like allergies and is treatable with meds,hang in there and from what I have read in this forum is always remember that it ain't cancer till your doctors say it is,until then I'll be keeping positive thoughts for you I'm with Phrannie51 on this one you may still be fighting a bug,

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

Debbie, Jim's ENT was the surgeon but he sent us to someone else for needle biopsy to base of tongue with local. I thought the wait and see was a little risky myself. They had Jim wait and see for 3 months when they found the first lung nodule. Three months later he had numerous nodles in both lungs. I don't believe it would have made a difference in his case but just saying a lot can happen in a couple months. Praying it is an infection. Would say don't worry but we both know that is impossible to do. I will pray for some peace and that the doctors move quickly to get the answers.



debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

thank you everyone!!  doing my best to remember that its not cancer until the doc says it is, easier said than done...lol.  P, i've had a neck dissection and didn't do to well afterwards.  my skin was very thin from the rads so it didn't heal and then i got a fistula.  i was in the hospital for a month recovering.  ruining skin is just one more gift from rads :0(   i don't recall having a bug but my nose did run for a few days making the skin very chapped.  my nose does that a lot since the laryngectomy. 

i am confused with some of what this ent said.  for one, no need to scope cuz the voice box is gone.  well, i've had a total hystorectomy and no longer have those parts but i still have to have yearly paps.  i mean i'm truly confused.  was lead to believe i didn't need to see my surgeon (ent surgeron who specialized in cancer) as his job was done once i healed from surgery, told a regular ent should do my checkups, but regular ent said i should see my surgeon.  plus, this ent that was recommended by the new doc disagrees with the "wait and see" decision and tells me to see my surgeon right away for a biopsy.  damn, does this have to be so hard?!!  i think i will just see the surgeron/ent who fixed the fistula and seen me every 4 months since and that's all.  if i think something needs to be done that he isn't suggesting, i'll bring it up.  i just have to trust him to take good care of me and hopefully, keep me cancer free or at least be on top of it and catch it early. sighhhhhhh............

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

I didn't know there were "regular ENT's" and "ENT surgeons".....that there were two varieties.  If you want this node biopsied, tell the ENT that you WANT it....Talk to him about this node that has gotten bigger.....Oh, and if the surgeon ENT is who you've been seeing, why hasn't HE scoped you?  My mom was a laryngetomy and got scoped every three months....you might not have a larnyx, but there's other parts that need to be looked at now and again....


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

P, i agree w/u about the scope but my ent surgeon and this new ent both said no reason to scope unless there is a problem.  i don't know, maybe there isn't different types of ents.  i just know my ent surgeon is the one who fixed my fistula and has checked me since.  can a regular (?) ent do that type of surgery?  who knows.  he has done other surgery on me too but i can't think of what it was for, one surgery was for a TEP.  maybe i just worry to much about nothing.  i'll just have to wait and see what doc says next wed.  :0)


Posts: 761
Joined: Apr 2012

DJ if you don't like this ENT please find another one.  You know you have to have trust in the doctors that are treating you.  I guess we were lucky that our local ENT referred us to a head and neck specialist and from there on he did everything and that included scoping at every 3 month check up and Joe had a complete laryngectomy.   Our local ENT told us that not many ENT's know about laryngectomees because there are so few in this country today but the number is increasing rapidly.  Your ENT surgeon should be doing the scope since he knows you.  And if it was me I would be more comfortable with him doing the scope than someone you don't know or who doesn't know you after all you have been thru.  Just my opinion.

Wishing you peace -- Sharon

wmc's picture
Posts: 1796
Joined: Jan 2014

I have to be scopped every two months for the first year because I didn't have RAD , then it will be every six months for five years. So far NED.

If they didn't remove all of your lynph glands they can get enlarged with infection or colds. It's not cancer untill they say it is. [ Just hard to remember when it's you]

Yes some ENT don't do surgery of at least major surgery. One doctor was going to send me to a local ENT before I went to Stanford, and he did surgery. He took out tonsils. Sorry he might be very nice but he is not going to do cancer surgery on me. I do have a local ENT to scope and check me but if he thinks he found anything he will send me back to Stanford, and I'm good with that.

PJ47's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Sep 2013

First ENT would not do my FNA in office due to its location.  Mine was 11mm.

Then went to  Vanderbilt otolaryngologist/surgeon who did an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration on my lymph node along with a biopsy and debulking of my tongue base tumor on the same day.  I was under general anesthesia for both procedures so cannot tell you much about it.  I had to have ultrasound guided FNA due to my lymphnode neoplasm being next to my carotid artery.  The place on my neck was black and blue and sore for several weeks.

If yours is not in a critical area then you may not need the ultrasound guide.  I think having the area numbed is a good idea if they are planning to take several samples.  They looked at slides in the OR so I knew the diagnosis immediately, but it was in a large teaching hospital.

A month later had a neck dissection which was not the most fun, but am largely back to normal with some shoulder range of motion issues and a bit of nerve pain on that side.  I almost think if they are going to do a FNA they may as well remove the whole node but it may depend on where it is located and how accessable it is.  There is also the SGBT (may not have this right) targeted gamma rad.  that if needed is not as bad as the 35 IMRT program.  

Keep the faith and we are in your corner,


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

Prayers for a positive outcome. Sorry you have to play the waiting game. Hugs

donfoo's picture
Posts: 1649
Joined: Dec 2012


I had a FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration) of a lymph tumor in office. It was a breeze. The primary was BOT and for that I went under general and into the OR for biopsy. Like all things cancer, it depends. Good luck, Don

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