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missjena's avatar

Palpable collar bone lymph nodes are they always cancer?

Asked by missjena (910points) September 17th, 2008 from iPhone

I had a lymph node biopsy recently that was benign however my ENT doctor is concerened about my supraclavicular lymph nodes and wants me to get a pet scan to rule out cancer. I’m 23 and terrified. I can’t eat or sleep. Am I the only 1 in the world who can feel her collarbone lymph nodes? I’m doomed.

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14 Answers

syz's avatar

Didn’t you ask this already?

Judi's avatar

get the test and let us know. Ill keep you in my prayers.

shilolo's avatar

The simple answer to your question is a big, fat, emphatic NO. Lymph nodes are the area in the body where the immune system meets “the outside world”. Sometimes (though, infrequently) those immune cells go haywire, and you end up with cancer. Most often, a swollen lymph node is just a sign the immune system is responding to something (likely an infection of some sort, but perhaps some other type of allergen or irritant). So, the bottom line is that more often than not, swollen lymph nodes are benign (that is, not concerning). Many people have persistently small nodes in their neck, armpits or groin from multiple childhood infections (think all those scraped knees and elbows). If they change rapidly in size, or become more numberous, and don’t recede, then, it is time to see the doctor.

(Soapbox moment) All should realize that the internet is a wonderful place for getting information, but, it can be a scary place as well. All you see are the concerning or horror stories, but more often than not, your symptoms (whatever they may be, swollen lymph nodes, headache, bruising, etc.) are NOT CANCER, but rather, a transient event that will go away.

robhaya's avatar

You should get the PET scan to rule out cancer and have piece of mind. My father passed away this past April after battling esophageal cancer for almost two years, when he was diagnosed it had already spread to several areas of his body. One of those was in his collar bone. I’m not saying you have cancer and it can very likely be nothing. Getting the PET scan is one of the most accurate ways to determine if its cancer or not.

Best wishes
R

missjena's avatar

I had a biopsy already though isnt that the ultimate test? Was your father a smoker?

missjena's avatar

also R I want to mention that even though I’m glad for your input and I’m sorry about your father. I highly doubt that I have esophageal cancer ( of course not 100% but no1 knows anything that well) I done smoke hardly drink and according to the American cancer society your 100% more likely to get it if youve done that for many years. Also its higher in men. I’ve also had many ct scans with contrast. My hemotologist is 100% against me getting the PET scan I’ve been through a lot of unnecessary radiation already. I’ll prob get the scan anyway. Idk

robhaya's avatar

My Dad had quit smoking 30 plus years ago. So it wasn’t directly related to him getting the cancer. We were never really sure why it developed in his throat. I wasn’t saying that you have esophageal cancer or anything like that, I was just trying to explain that his cancer which originated in his throat had spread (metastasized) to other parts of his body. Thanks for the kind words and good luck with everything. Like I said before its probably nothing.

Rob

missjena's avatar

I did have my largest lymph node biopsied right in my neck kinda close to the esophagus i guess i think that might of picked a malignancy up. In fact if i read this correctly lymph node biopsies are more accurate diagnosing a metastisized malignancy rather than lymphoma.

I think I am just going to assume I have some kind of malignancy because a lot of people seem to be like LEFT SUPRACLAVICULAR LYMPH NODES? ohh no.

damn its scary to think that 3 blood tests, a thyroid test, 2 ovarian ultrasounds, an abdominal ultra sound, a bladder test, 2 CT full body with contrast, xrays, and a lymph node biopsy FNA core and flow cytometry and i still might have cancer. i cant even concentrate in classes all my friends are planning their weddings and well lets just say im planning other things.

shilolo's avatar

@missjena. I’m really sorry that this has gotten you so stressed out. It sounds like you have had a very thorough evaluation without signs of cancer. That is a good thing. I would say that after all of those tests, and considering that you are 23 years old, that the likelihood of cancer is very low. You should be reassured, not more scared. Seriously. While some cancers are notoriously difficult to identify before they spread, most cancers can be found after the extensive work-up you’ve had. Rest easy.

missjena's avatar

aw shilolo thanks for your kind words. I’m actually laying I’n bed can’t sleep cause this is consuming my thoughts. I have class at 830 am tomorrow ugh! I hope your right I don’t think I’d be as worried as I am if the lymph nodes ere swollen somewhere else. I heard it 90% malignant. I’m really trying to get that overwhelming number out of my head but its hard. Your right I thought after all these tests I’d be in the clear. Apparently my ENT doesnt think so. Unfortuntely

shilolo's avatar

Wherever you got those numbers, I don’t know. I humbly suggest you get a second opinion. Your ENT shouldn’t be sending you to a million tests without some “back-up”.

missjena's avatar

I am def getting another opinion in fact in manhattan at a vey good hospital. I’m going to get the pet scan to be safe because I have a feeling the other doctor in manhattan is goin to agree. So as a doctor youve seen lymph nodes in the dollar bone area

lilly4lola's avatar

im having the same problem and im the same age you are not alone in your fears. i hope everything worked out and you are cancer free!

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