I have an enlarged lymph node in my neck that sticks out when I lean my head and neck to the opposite side of where it is. I've seen a doctor and asked about this in the past and have been told that the only way to know if something is wrong is to do a biopsy. I'm 27 and have had this since I was maybe 13, if not longer. My doctor at the time said that it should be nothing to worry about as long as it doesn't get larger and if it sort of moves around as opposed to being more hard and stuck in one place. The lymph node does slightly move from back and forth when I gently press around on it. More recently I've noticed another enlarged lymph node, larger than the one I have on the other side of my neck. I don't know how long I've had it, but at least for the past few months. It seems to be about the size of a marble, but does not stick out. I have to feel for it, but it is close to the surface of my skin. It seems to move around a little bit, but I'm worried about how big it is. It doesn't hurt and neither does my other one. I don't have health insurance right now, but at my next regular check-up I plan to ask about this. But for now...
Is it common to have enlarged lymph nodes and what could cause this? I was told the cause of the one I've had for years could be that the lymph node got enlarged once when I was sick and just never went down. Can anyone offer some insight to me? I'm also curious if this could be cancer and if so, would there be any other signs? Is a biopsy the only way to know if something is wrong? Thanks a lot in advance for any advice or comments!
My little boy who is 5 just had a lymph node removed from his neck. It had been there since he was a baby. Never got any bigger and never got any smaller. It was 2.5 centimeters, and was never ever painful. Our doctors and surgeons over the years just said watch and see and wait and wait and watch and worry....I could not stand it anymore and finally they removed it and biopsied it and he is fine. No cancer. No Hodgkins or Non Hodgkins which are I think what is feared with these nodes. You have had yours for more than a decade. I cannot even fathom with what I know now, which is still very little, that it is cancer. You did not mention other symptoms...but you would be sick by now...I know there are a lot of very knowledgeable people that are hear that will give you good advice. I know how scared you are...
I am 19 and I have got a swollen lymph node almost at the back of my neck, it's been there for a while, I don't really remember when it appeared, but I did realize that the more I touch it and squeeze it the more swollen and painful it gets.
Any infection can cause your nodes to swell up, I had a swollen lymph behind my knees after a mosquito bite, it's true some of them oddly remain swollen and never go down.
I second your doctor's statement concerning your "old" node. If you had it for so many years without any significant change, it is probably no reason for concern.
As for your other node you recently discovered, I'm not sure exactly how big a marble is. Can you measure it in centimeters?
Regarding your other questions: Yes, it is fairly common to have enlarged nodes. Virtually anyone gets them at some point of their lives. The vast majority of the enlarged nodes people experience are reactive, e.g. commonly caused by a bacterial or viral or infections. Some may be also caused by allergies or other non-serious diseases. A small minority are caused by numerous types of cancer.
As you were told, in some people, some of their reactive nodes do not withdraw to their original size. In your case particularly, respectively to the area as an hypothesis, a persistent scalp/sinus/tooth infection may be a reason. Also, since lymph nodes are sensitive organs, some say over touching or "squeezing" on them as many people do may cause them to stay enlarged. I don't know if this theory is true or not. There are probably other possible reasons why the nodes don't reduce in size, some are unknown. It's likely to vary individually.
Could it be cancer? Very unlikely considering your age. However your post lacks of essential details so it is difficult to give you any better indications of what may be the cause, especially through the internet. Just for your general knowledge, lymphoma symptoms include abnormal and increasingly large, firm, fixed node(s), fever, night sweats, weight loss, and sometimes generalized itching. None the less some patients do not experience any symptoms other than the first mentioned (which is not always visible).
And yes. Biopsy is the only accurate diagnostic procedure which can safely tell you what caused these nodes to enlarge. Biopsy is usually warranted if the associated nodes do not decrease in size over a course of several months or especially if they continuously grow in size.
Thanks to everyone who replied. It's hard to measure the lymph node because I have to feel for it and can't really see it, but I'm guessing it's about half an inch long. I don't have any symptoms. I'm wondering if it's really an enlarged lymph node or if it could be some kind of cyst. I know the other one I have is definitely a lymph node since a doctor told me. The new one is at one side of my neck right where my neck begins. It is round, whereas the one I've had for years is more like an oval, but it could be two lymph nodes together. It's hard to tell. I'm anxious to see a doctor, but won't be able to for awhile. I do feel better after reading everyone's replies. Thanks again.