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Hello! Please let me know if this type of post isnt allowed.
I'm just curious about what it is like to get a biopsy done on a node? I am a 24yo female enlarged left occipital lymph node for the past 5 almost 6 weeks, it’s not painful but it’s hard, shaped like a sideways tear drop and non moving occipital lymph node about the size of a marble. 
I saw my pcp because I’ve had it for a while and my husband was concerned. That doc asked me if I had any recent infections (nope) or if my cat scratched me (she hadn’t?). He prescribed said antibiotic and ordered a CBC (which was normal). He told me to take the antibiotic and follow up on Monday if it hadn’t gone away. He says if it stays there we’ll probably biopsy it to check for cancer?
I'm on day 3 of the antibiotics and nothing has changed I don't have night sweats or anything. I am always extremely tried but I have a 1 year old and am a graduate student. No random weightloss (I've been trying but not very hard to lose weight and have only lost 5lbs). I have been having headaches, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating (the only thing abnormal for me are the head aches).
I just want to know what a biopsy is? And what it is like to have it done? Is it actually necessarry? I'm a little worried.
po18guy's picture
Posts: 1187
Joined: Nov 2011

Sorry to hear of your concern. A small incision is made - walk in, wallk out procedure. I would refuse any type of needle biopsy, as those provide too many false negative readings. Do let us know what comes to pass.

WoodlandGnome's picture
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2019

if it’s a node that is near the surface, it’s an easy procedure. I was awake and chatting with my surgeon for mine (clavicle). Needle biopsies rarely get enough for lymphoma.

Now im dealing with one much harder to get to, and we looked all over for a nice, easy one. 

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2019

I figured I'd post an update! The surgeon I saw back in April did an ultrasound and it measured .47cm by .91. That doc said it was too small for him to care about and even though I have had been enlarged since Febuary and already went through a course of antibiotics he said it would probably go away on its own and to contact him if it got bigger. He didn't have the best bedside manner.

So I ignored it. I saw my pcp in my hometown at the end of July for a checkup and I mentioned the swollen occipital node. He felt it and said that it might be a part of my skull and wanted to do a CT to confirm it was a node. I did the CT of my head. Brain is fine, it is a node now measuring 1.6cm x .9cm and it mentiones that there are other smaller similar lymph nodes of note in a chain.  So this doctor doesnt want to order a full excsional biopsy but is willing to order an ultrasound guided FNA. So I go the first week of August.

I go on a Friday and speak with the doctor. He wants to do the regular pathological malagnancy test and a separate test for lymphoma but since it was a Friday I was told by the nurse they weren't able to order the test for lymphoma. They tell me to talk with my pcp if I'm still concerned once the FNA results come in. The results come in with an updated ultrasound measurment of 1.1 x 1.6 x .5 and there's no sign of malignancy. The doctor said it was lymphoid hyperplasia and no further testing was needed.

A week after the FNA I noticed a palpable lump (not too big) on my neck. It seemed to be another lymph node. I waited until mid september to see another pcp in the town I'm staying in. He runs another CBC, bmp, thyroid, and for lymes because I'm terribly fatigued (like in bed by 10pm sleeping until 8am fighting my alarm and almost falling asleep anytime I stop physically moving). Everything comes back normal. He refers me to another surgeon to have the lymph node removed becuase it's causing me a lot of physical discomfort (the skin around it gets painful and swollen on occasion and whenever I brunsh my hair the area around it hurts. Never the node itself).

So this doctor is going to remove the big one completely on October 3rd and test it for everything including lymphoma. So hopefully I'll a 100% answer in the next few weeks. I have no B symptoms thankfully (just the swollwen nodes, headaches, and extreme fatigue) and my blood work doesn't indicate an auto immunde disease. I just want to rule everything serious out and work on finding a solution to my exhaustion.

I hope everyone else is doing well! If anyone has any recommendations on what to expect from the outpatient procedure I'd really like to hear expereinces. They told me I had to have someone pick me up? Why is that?

Thanks for reading!


Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3659
Joined: May 2012

I hope that all goes smoothly during your biopsy; they usually do.  And I agree that it would be wise to arrange to be driven home.   I also agree with everyone that an excise biopsy is much to be preferred.   Lymphoma presenting in the area of the eye is often CNS-related (central nervous system).  But of course it is not confirmed that you have ANY type of lyymphoma yet.  And lymphomas involving the CNS are about as treatable as any others anyway.   I hope you share your discoveries and  continue asking questions that occure to you,


lindary's picture
Posts: 709
Joined: Mar 2015

I hope you get good news that there is no cancer. 

As to having someone drive you home. My guess is that they need may need to use something more than a local to removed the node. In tath case it is not good to be driving after. 


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