You are here:

Oncology (General Cancer)/Related to thyroid? Carotid? Lymph node?

Advertisement


Question
My husband is 46 y/o, reasonably healthy, and is experiencing the following persistent symptoms: palpable lump on left side of neck (on/near the carotid artery). C/O pain radiating from the neck area to his jaw and ear and down to his shoulder.  Voice is changed, must concentrate to swallow.  Has intermittent warm "flashes" in chest and is extraordinarily fatigued.  Was seen at a walk-in clinic and put on ABT for broncitis approx. 3 wks ago and showed expected improvement with the ABT.  However, his energy and mood level has significantly declined and the lump manifested since.  Normally  I would not be overly concerned but my husband rarely gets sick.  (He has missed only 2 days of work due to illness in more than a decade.  He has missed 7 in the last few weeks.) He is a former smoker, having quit approx. 2 years ago.  My apologies for this lengthy post - I intended to be succinct.  Your insight and input would be very much appreciated.  He will be seeing our PCP tomorrow.

Answer
He really needs to have some sort of imaging of his chest -- my preference would be a CT scan.  He also needs a careful oral examination, and if the mass is a "mass" and not a carotid aneurism, a fine needle biopsy of that.  In an ex-smoker with the symptoms you are describing, cancer of the lung or less likely, of the head and neck region (vocal chords, tongue, etc) must be considered.  In my practice I don't know how many people I've seen who were put on antibiotics for "bronchitis" and later turned out to have lung cancer.  So I hope your PCP will proceed with the appropriate diagnostic tests.  Please keep me posted.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Donald Higby, M.D.

Expertise

I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.

Experience

I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

Organizations
American Society of Clinical Oncology

Publications
New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

Education/Credentials
MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

Awards and Honors
America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.