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The doctor found a lump under my arm. A sonogram was preformed and the radiologist said it is an enlarged lymph node and he thinks it is beneign but suggested a cat scan or a pet scan as I had uterian cancer 3 years ago.

By September 15, 2010 - 12:15pm
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My doctor is reluctant to run either test. My question is just how conclusive is a sonoagram in determining if an enlarged lymph node is cancerous or not. Can and should something like a needle biosphy be done? What other conditions would cause and enlarged lymph node in a cancer patient? While I understand cat scans and pet scans should not be done willy nilly because of unintended consequences, I have already had cancer once myself, my father died of cancer at age 57. My mother had breast cancer and colon cancer and using "an abundance of caution" in the treatment of my symptoms will allow me to sleep better at nite. The problem is I am not sure what treatment options I should be looking into. It has been 2 months since the doctor initially found the lump it it is still there.
Is this normal

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HERWriter Guide

Hi drussell,

Thanks so much for your question and for finding EmpowHER. I'm sorry you are dealing with this unidentified lump right now, I understand why you have all of your concerns, based on what you have told us.

Since you have been a cancer patient yourself (are you in remission now?) and cancer is pretty rampant in your family, you need to be both adamant that your tests are done correctly and thoroughly yet use caution.

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America:

Your doctor may use the following screening and diagnostic tests:

•Physical examination – to determine the size and consistency of your lymph nodes
•Blood and urine tests – to rule out an infection or other disease
•Imaging tests – to determine the location of tumors in the body
•Biopsy – removing a small amount of tissue to determine the type of lymphoma, the growth rate of the tumor, and whether it has spread

Here is what you can expect from a Biopsy : http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/lymph-node-biopsy

drussell, as stated above, an infection could also be the cause of swollen nodes, as could mono, Lupus, AIDS, arthritis, an ear infection or even syphilis.

But with your history, I would hope your doctor would be a little more on the ball in finding out why you have this swelling. Do you have an appointment with him/her soon? If not, make one and between the two of you, decide on a biopsy or blood tests (to discount other reasons) or imaging. But this is something I am sure you'd like to happen soon, as would any person.

Unfortunately we cannot tell you the 'best' way or method that will work in your case but your doctor can, along with you so please schedule a meeting as soon as possible. There seems little point in waiting to see, when the swelling is not going down and you are clearly anxious (as I would be too!)

Please let me know what you think?


September 15, 2010 - 1:37pm
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