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4 biopsies done on swollen lymph node

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2014

I had thyroid cancer in 2008, 5 mm that was removed. All my thyroid gland was removed, did not have radiation because dr said it was really small. Every since all my blood work and my t4, t3 and all other tests have always been very good, perfect results. 2 years after the thyroid cancer, during one of neck ultrasound they found an enlarged lymph node on my neck, under my jaw. That lymph node has been swollen almost 2.1 cm until today May 2014. Each year from the time they found it, I have had a biopsy done. Meaning so far I have had 4 biopsies (3 fine needle biopsy and one core). The results are always the same Benign. I have decided to go see a ENT doctor who also says the same thing I always hear: it's probably nothing. I am worried because I know that something must be wrong for that swollen lymph node to remain enlarged. Last time I saw him he mentioned lymphoma but he is telling me that the lymph node needs to be the size of a walnut to confirm. I worry and don't know what to do. I had a recent MRI and was able to see the node. I asked for a Pet scan but no body wants to give it to me. After having 4 biopsies, what should I do next?

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3699
Joined: May 2012


Four biopsies coming back negative seem to indicate pretty strongly that the node is NOT cancerous. On the other hand, it is not "nothing," or it would not be enlarged (I hate it when anything is described as "nothng" by a doctor !) .

Has it gotten bigger during this time period ? Cancer seldom remains static; it tends to "get in your face" instead.  ENTs traditionally are going to consider the thing infectous long before they will consider it cancerous, especailly with the negative tests already run.  I would most likely try to get a second opinion from an oncologists rather than an ENT .  PET scans are massively expensive, so no doctor recommending one is not surprising at all (it would have to be approved as "medically justified" by your insurance company after the doc ordered it anyway) .

Thyroid-to-lymphoma is not a common path for getting lymphoma, but I am sure it is remotely possible. It is just quite rare (I have never heard it mentioned here before, or read of it in any academic studies).

I suppose I would continue to demand an answer (most likely from an oncologist, as I stated), but do not assume you have cancer at this point, given that all tests indicate otherwise.



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