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Cancer – Lymph Nodes

February 1, 2021


“So one thing that a lot of us are taught when we’re getting our education on cancer and on health is this concept of normal and abnormal lymph nodes. So we do worry, and there are obviously non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas or even Hodgkin’s lymphomas with the word lymph in it, to where we worry about, you know, lymph node involvement, as well as things called like CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The way that we worry and assess lymph nodes that may be concerning for cancer is one, are they persistent? So lymph nodes are a way of our immune cells to kind of like get revved up in the process of an infection. So if you have an upper respiratory illness or a viral infection or sore throat, it’s not uncommon at all to get lymph nodes during that period. And they may take up to a few weeks to go away. Where we get concerned and where you may want to talk to your doctors,

if you’re feeling lymph nodes that are there for no reason, and they don’t go away and they’re new and they’re not tender. These are qualities that kind of concern us a little bit more when we especially ask about what we call our constitutional symptoms. So if you have these lymph nodes and you’re fatigued, or you have no appetite or you’re losing weight, we kind of put the picture together and say, well, maybe you have like a lymphoma process going on, which usually revolves, involves taking out the whole lymph node. So lymph nodes are a normal reactive process when it’s in the setting of any kind of infection. But if you feel one that pops up and it just doesn’t go away, it’s definitely worth at least bringing the attention to your primary care doctor, as well as thinking about the different symptoms that may be involved at the time that those lymph nodes were noticed.”

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