Brazilian Natural Medicine

Enlarged lymph nodes: what they are and when they can be cancer

Lymph nodes, also known as bumps, lumps or lymph nodes, are small ‘bean’ shaped glands that are distributed throughout the body and that help the immune system work properly as they filter the lymph to remove viruses and bacteria that can be a risk to the body. Once removed, these microorganisms are destroyed by lymphocytes, which are defense cells present within the lymph nodes.

These lymph nodes can be found singly throughout the body, but they are mostly present in groups in places such as the neck, armpits and groin. Each group is usually responsible for helping to fight infections that develop nearby, getting swollen when this happens. Thus, it is common that during a urinary tract infection, the groin lymph nodes are easier to feel, for example.

What Can Make Lymph Nodes Swollen?

Lymph nodes swell when there is trauma or infection nearby, so where they are swollen can help with the diagnosis. About 80% of enlarged lymph nodes in people under the age of 30 are due to nearby infections, but they can also be:

1. Swelling in the armpits

The most common causes of swollen axillary lymph nodes are sores or infections on the hand, arm or armpit, due to a cut, ingrown hair or boil, for example. However, it can indicate more serious problems such as lymphoma, especially when there is night fever and sweating, but other situations, such as animal bites, brucellosis, sporotrichosis, and breast cancer can also be at the origin of this change.

However, cancer is a relatively rare cause and, often, swelling in the armpit region may not even be due to a tongue, it may also be a sign of a cyst or a lipoma, for example, which are simpler problems to treat. deal with. Thus, the ideal is that, whenever you have a tongue that does not disappear, you consult a general practitioner to evaluate the place and carry out other tests that help confirm the diagnosis.

2. Swelling in the neck

Neck lymph nodes may swell on the side, but also under the jaw or near the ears. When this happens, it may be possible to feel or even see a small lump in these regions, which may be a sign of:

  • Dental abscess;
  • thyroid cyst,
  • Changes in the salivary glands;
  • Sore throat;
  • Pharyngitis or laryngitis;
  • Cut or bite in the mouth;
  • Mumps;
  • Ear or eye infection.

In rarer cases, this swelling of the tongues can also be a sign of some type of tumor in that region, such as in the throat, larynx or thyroid.

3. Groin in the groin

The groin lymph nodes can become swollen from infections or trauma to the legs, feet, or genital area. One of the most common causes is urinary infection, but it can also happen after intimate surgery, and in case of sexually transmitted diseases, infections in the legs or feet, and some types of cancer in the genital region, such as vulvar, vaginal or penile cancer.

Check out the most common symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases.

4. Collarbone tongue

Lumps on top of the collarbone bone can indicate infections, lymphoma, a tumor in the lungs, breasts, neck, or abdomen. The indurated ganglion in the left supraclavicular region, may indicate gastrointestinal neoplasia, and is known as a nodule of Virchow.

5. Swells all over the body

Although it is more common for lymph nodes to swell in only one region, lumps can appear all over the body and this is usually related to diseases such as:

  • autoimmune diseases,
  • Lymphoma;
  • Leukemia;
  • Cytomegalovirus;
  • Mononucleosis;
  • Secondary syphilis;
  • Sarcoidosis;
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • Hyperthyroidism;
  • Side effect of medications such as hydantoinate, antithyroid agents, and isoniazid.

See the top 10 symptoms of lymphoma.

6. Swells on the back of the neck

Lumps near the back of the neck can usually indicate the presence of scalp infections, rubella, or even insect bites. However, and although it is much more rare, this type of tongue can also result from the presence of cancer.

7. Swells near the ear

Enlarged lymph nodes near the ear can indicate conditions such as rubella, eyelid infections or conjunctivitis, for example.

When Enlarged Lymph Nodes Could Be Cancer

Swollen lymph nodes are almost always a sign of an infection near the area, however, there are some cases where this swelling could be a sign of cancer and the only way to be sure is to see a general practitioner for tests, such as an exam. blood test, biopsy or CT scan, for example.

The evaluation of the enlarged ganglion helps to identify what it could be, so the doctor feels the area and checks if the ganglion moves, how big it is and if it hurts. Sore lymph nodes are less likely to be cancerous. Having multiple enlarged lymph nodes throughout the body increases the chances of leukemia, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, drug reactions, and in some infections. The nodes in leukemias and lymphomas are firm in consistency and painless.

The risk of a tongue being cancer is higher when it lasts longer than 6 weeks or when signs such as:

  • Several swollen lymph nodes throughout the body;
  • Hardened consistency;
  • Absence of pain when touching the lumps and
  • adhesion.

In addition, age is also important because people over 50 years of age are more likely to have a tumor than younger people. So, if in doubt, the doctor may order a fine-needle aspiration biopsy to check for cancer cells.

Some neoplastic diseases that can cause lymph node enlargement are: lymphoma, leukemia, and in case of metastasis to breast, lung, kidney, prostate, melanoma, head and neck, gastrointestinal tract and germ cell tumors.

when to go to the doctor

Most cases of swollen tongue do not need any treatment and therefore disappear in less than 1 week. However, it is recommended to go to the general practitioner if:

  • Lymph nodes are swollen for more than 3 weeks;
  • There is no pain when touching the tongue;
  • The lump increases in size over time;
  • There are weight loss with no apparent cause;
  • Other symptoms appear such as fever, excessive tiredness, weight loss or night sweats;
  • The bumps appear in more places on the body.

In these cases, the doctor may order several tests, especially blood tests, to try to identify the cause, according to the affected lymph nodes, initiating the most appropriate treatment.

Always consult a doctor.

Verified by RJ985 – Brazilian natural medicine

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