General Question

missjena's avatar

Can you feel your lymph nodes?

Asked by missjena (910points) September 14th, 2008 from iPhone

I’m a 23 yr old girl whose recently had a biopsied lymph node which was benign. I’m just curious can you feel the lymph nodes in your collarbone area? Dig deep maybe push your shoulders back so your shoulder blades touch. Do u feel little balls in there? Yes or no. Weird question I know but I have my reasons.

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20 Answers

shilolo's avatar

Most people can feel some lymph nodes, somewhere. Typical places to feel for nodes are in your neck (in front, and behind), your collarbone area (as mentioned above), your armpits, and your groin area. This picture shows where most off them are, but does not discriminate between internal and external nodes (the ones in the middle are mainly internal and can’t be felt).

missjena's avatar

shilolo. The reason for my question is because I’ve read online people who can feel their collarbone lymph nodes usually have cancer. I’ve brought this up to my encologist she explained that is simply not true and to not believe everything online. However almost every website explains you shouldnt feel the collarbone nodes. Mine do not feel big just there.

missjena's avatar

I’ve had a node biopsied but not in that area ( close by tho)

shilolo's avatar

Well, your oncologist is right (I’m an Infectious Disease doctor, and thus have some experience with lymph nodes…) Speaking personally, I have a couple of collarbone nodes that have been the same size for years. The critical thing about nodes is if they start to grow and/or become more numerous, or if you get brand new ones that you can feel somewhere not related to a local infection. For example, if you get a head cold or the flu, you might find some neck (cervical) nodes are enlarged, but they should shrink when the infection improves.

missjena's avatar

oh ok so some people can feel their collarbone lymph nodes. I’ve mentioned it to several doctors they also mentioned if they biopsy the largest 1 it usually tells you what the others would be. Thanks for your comforting answer I loose sleep over this at least 4 times a week every week. I still can’t find a website that explains collarbone nodes can be palpable in healthy adults and you just found 1! Thanks. I feel them on both sides not just the right or left.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@shilolo you original picture actually does discriminate between internal and external nodes. Bottom left hand corner, palpable nodes solid green circle non-palpable nodes open green circle.

missjena's avatar

über thanks for pointing that out but I think he knew that. Thats why he posted it cause of my question. Thanks tho

cak's avatar

@missjena – I’m not a doctor, but I am a cancer patient. Believe me, reading the websites, you will find out you are dying from a paper cut. It’s ok to question and I do, often, but after 2 years and reading websites, I stay away from most of them. I will ask for a book from the medical library, if I’m wanting to read more – the hospital that I am in, has one for the patients. I’ll mark it and ask for clarification. Remember, they are speaking about statistics on those sites, not individual cases.

When I did think I had cancer, 10 years ago, I didn’t. Nodes were swollen, I had biopsies, but I was fine. When I felt fine…I maybe a little run down, I found out I had cancer.

If you feel you need a second opinion, seek one, but don’t bog yourself down in websites, it will convince you that you have every single disease out there!

missjena's avatar

I’m sorry über u are right. He didnt know my fault

shilolo's avatar

In truth, I was initially linking to a different picture, but then I found the better one and didn’t go back to replace the text. No harm, no foul. I’m sure Uber doesn’t mind…

El_Cadejo's avatar

Whatevers Clever ^_^

missjena's avatar

cak your right! Thank u so much for your answer. I hate websites when I read them I cry and cry. I’ve gotten a second opinion ( well sorta) if you don’t mind me asking did your lymph nodes have anything to do with your cancer? Also when you didnt have cancer were u able to feel those nodes?

missjena's avatar

thanks ya I havent Bewn able to find any sites like that, that says its normal I’m so glad u did.

cak's avatar

I have a chronic for of leukemia and as a complication, I also have mature b cell lymphoma…everything seems to be involved! I’m an equal opportunity cancer patient. (yes…I must joke, if not, I’d cry and I refuse to spend my time crying!)

I was, but what I didn’t know is I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and finally had to see an Infectious Disease Doctor and when my numbers started to return to normal, he advised me that some that I didn’t feel before, might always stay more enlarged. I was always able to feel the nodes below my collarbone and under my arm. I am now able to feel quite a few. It did scare me when I started to feel the ones to the sides of my neck.

My daughter, 14, can feel nodes and yes, it scared me. I had my husband take her to the doctor…everything came back fine! Sometimes, they are tender, but she’s rechecked on and off and has her yearly physical and she’s the picture of health.

My son, 5, never noticed a swollen node, couldn’t feel any – but he was treated for cancer, as well.

Bottom line is from ALL the docs I’ve dealt with (and there have been many!) they’ve all told me that yes, some people can feel the nodes, some don’t.

If it would make you feel better, seek a “true” second opinion and make sure you give them all the information. Most important…take a breath and relax!

Best wishes.

missjena's avatar

thank you for your story! Cancer treatments are incredible now and i hear cures in near future! I knew the ones in the neck can b normally palpated but the collarbone ones are the only ones that I worried about. I just want to make sure I have this correctly u were always able to feel your collarbone lymph nodees even before u had cancer? Not after?

shilolo's avatar

@cak. All I can say is, wow! What an amazing and unfortunate series of events! Glad to see you’ve kept a positive attitude. A true testament to your strength, and the support of your family and friends. Best wishes.

missjena's avatar

yes cak. Best wishes and god bless. I also know children are known for benign enlarged nodes its very common

cak's avatar

I was able to always feel the ones below, the ones above, were after, but not only had I had cancer for quite a long time when that started (well over a year) I also had strep and was just generally sick!

Don’t you think if you have cancer you should get a pass on strep?!? ;)

missjena, don’t forget, having cancer opens you up to infections, so not all node issues have been cancer related – I have two germy kids…trust me…they are just walking infections waiting to happen! They found the lymphoma before my other glands (either side of my neck) started to stay swollen.

cak's avatar

@shilolo & @missjena – thanks for the wishes – I know I’ll be ok. I don’t have a choice, I have a trip to Italy riding on this! ;)

night!

missjena's avatar

Have a great time in Italy! Take lots of pictures!

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