CSN Login
Members Online: 7

You are here

Question about how Lymphoma spreads in your experience

Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2014

Hi there,


I'm awaiting a diagnosis for lymphoma. I already went for a small needle biopsy and am just waiting for results now. I have a large, swollen jugulodigastric lymph node that was biopsied. I'm female and 24 years old. Until recently, I never noticed any other swellings but today I found a swollen lymph node in my armpit that is visible. It must have shown up within the last couple weeks because my doctor checked all the other lymph nodes a few weeks ago during my last visit. Its on the same side of my body as the swollen node in my neck.

My question is, is it possible for lymphoma to spread from the neck to the armpit while skipping the nodes in between? I do not have any other swellings in my neck along my collarbone or anything. Also, did your oncologist identify the primary tumor being in your neck but you also had tumors elsewhere? What was your experience with your diagnosis? Did you ever experience peripheral neuropathy too? Like tingling, numbness, shooting pains, aches etc.


Thanks for the information! 

Anonymous user (not verified)

My only large node was a golf ball sized one on my shoulder . It was painless and I did not know it was there until I saw it in a mirror. It came up very quickly.  My main symptoms were (still are) joint pain, muscle aches and fatigue. I think the answer to your question is yes. I say that because lymphoma is a blood cancer and can appear anywhere in the body there is blood. The cells tend to get caught in lymph nodes where they clone themselves producing a tumor Then spread to nearby nodes. However they can also be "extranodal" or outside the lymph nodes.

Be positive there are many things other than lymphoma that could cause your symptoms. Don't jump the gun. 

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


Some lymphoma types can miss filling adjacent nodes, and some are believed to be nearly always contiguous. Be aware that not "feeling" a node along that path does NOT mean that they are non-cancerous, however.

I had lymphoma from my mid-neck, throughout both arm pits, all over my central chest cavity, and down both sides of my abdomen into my spleen and groin/pelvic area.

I have never felt an enlarged lymph node anywhere in my body in my life.   Not before diagnosis, or after. Never. I do not even know what a lymph node feels like, actually.

Not feeling a node somewhere, I learned, is not clinically significant, and does not suggest that disease is not in an area.

However, I am totally disease-free now for five years, so assume that treatment will be wholly successful. With lymphoma, it usually is.



Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2014

Dear sperry89,

My symtoms started with one very enlarged node in my left side of neck and then disappeared the next day only to be followed by a series of extremely enlarged nodes from my arm pit to the collar bone and then it moved to my right side and ended up on top of my thighs. It was very aggressive and I had to go to two doctors before it was properly diagnoised. The fine needle aspiration was negative but the surgical biopsy proved positive for NHL, diffuse large cell B.

There are so many forms of lymphoma that it would take a knowlegeable specialist to answer your questions correctly especially about 'skipping nodes'. I have spoken with several survivors and each had a different experience from mine.

Yes, I have peripheral neuropathy but it was caused by one of the chemicals in the chemo. It can improve with excersize I am told. 

One of the doctors have told me that if one has to have a cancer, lymphoma is generally easier to 'cure' than most of the other kinds.


Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2014

Thanks everyone for your information. Its helpful. I'm not jumping the gun per say, but my doctors have pretty much ruled everything else out and I'm also showing B symptoms. If I didn't have it, that would be great, but I've come to terms with the fact that its a seriously possibliity. I'm hoping the enlarged node in my armpit may be caused by something else, but I'm seeing my doctor on Friday so I'll let her deal with that. 


Thanks again for the info. If anyone else has anecdotes to add, that would be great. 

po18guy's picture
Posts: 1222
Joined: Nov 2011

Lymphoma cells flow in your blood and lymphatic system (part of your circulatory system). Thus, they can and do show up just about anywhere - from nodes, to skin, eyes, brain, intestines, liver, pancreas, breasts, lungs, etc. So, they can and do skip some nodes (you have hundreds of them) and settle in others. No one knows why. The spleen is essentially just a huge lymph node. Even when I had lots of cancer (50+ tumors from ears to pelvis, as well as bone marrow involvement), my spleen showed no sign of the stuff. Very odd.

Now, as to your symptoms, some viral infections provide the same effects as cancer's B symptoms. Mononucleosis is only one of them. Been tested for that?    

anliperez915's picture
Posts: 772
Joined: Sep 2011

Po18guy it's really nice to hear from you! I've often wondered how you were doing? I remember that you had a relapse, how are you doing now?? Hope everything is going well for you! Please let us know...take care (((Hugs)))



po18guy's picture
Posts: 1222
Joined: Nov 2011

Thank you for thinking of me! I have been busy over at cancerforums.net. Since July, 2013, I have been medically inexplicable. Some of the best hemapathologists in the US cannot explain my biopsy results. So, we are/were waiting and watching to see what "it" would do. There are 5 possibilities: It may not be cancer. It may be AITL in waning mode. My immune system may have recovered since treatment stopped. The most aggressive clone cell may have been killed and the less agressive clones remain. But, the most often heard explanation is "We don't know."

Which was fine until last week. Then, I developed several nodes in or near my neck. Since they appeared very suddenly, and are tender to the touch, it is believed that they are the result of an infectious process - it is just that the infection cannot be found. My GP uses the medical term "strange" to describe it. I will see my ENT this week and my hematologist next Monday.   

Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2014

^^Yes, I have been tested for mono and any sign of infection in general. I also had dental x-rays done and nothing showed up with my teeth so its not dental related. My lymph nodes are completely painless, firm but not fixed says my doc. They're not super rock hard but I don't know if they are as soft as "rubbery" either. I still have the original big one on my neck, and the recent addition of the quarter sized one in my armpit.

I also have a new node that is swollen as well. Very small, pebble-like but really hard. It moves around though and I can kind of "pop it around my neck. However, I've never felt this one before a few days ago and although my other swollen nodes aren't in the least bit painful, this one causes a bit of discomfort... I can feel that its there and it almost hurts to press on it. Its located on the left side of my windpipe around the hyoid bone where my chin skin meets my neck skin. It seems pretty deep in there, I mean, I can't really feel the other one on the other side, but I can definitely feel this one when I press in and I intially found out it was swollen because there was some discomfort in that area.


My blood pressure seems to drop a lot as well when I stand up but it doesn't seem to come back up very fast. I experience hours of sweating after standing up, with tingling, numbness, dizziness, spots in my vision..my jaw locks up, sometimes my hands. Very puzzling. 

I had my small needle biopsy done this past Monday (about a week ago) and I should have the results by Friday at the latest. If they come back inconclusive, I just want my doc to take the lump outta my neck... he can have all the "specimens" he wants. I found the needle biopsy to be more painful than uncomfortable and I do not want to repeat that. Stayed sore for a few days after, not fun.

Mstrsofmyhm's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2014

I was diagnosed April of this year. my lymphoma was found when my femur snapped in half. It was hard for me to understand that I have lymphoma but my doctor is in the sarcoma clinic. The answer, lymphoma can show up anywhere. I had to wait for my chemo treatment, due to the healing in my leg. During that small amount of time it spread to other nodes. I'm getting ready for my fifth treatment out of 6 and then a month of radiation on my leg. I too have a large lump that while responsive I'm afraid will not fully go away and then what? I'll keep you posted. Good luck and God bless. When you feel you can't take any more, breathe. 

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2014

I first found out that I had lymphoma after dental work. It was on my upper palate in my mouth! Another node was then found near my neck. I had radiation to those areas and it has reappeared on my forehead! It looks like a bang in the head. The size of half an egg. Looking back at the PET scans it was there 8months ago yet they missed it! I am told that the PET scans are very subjective. Ugh!

But to answer your question. It can be anywhere and you may never know where. 

I am scheduled to start chemo but ran into an insurance mess and am now at a stand still trying to figure out how to get the copay. 

It is slow growing so unless there are severe symptoms the doctors don't really rush.

Best Wishes

Subscribe to Comments for "Question about how Lymphoma spreads in your experience"