Oncology (General Cancer)/lymphoma


Hi Dr. Higby,

I have had a feeling of mailaise for about 3 years. I had several symptoms that no doctor could adequately explain or diagnose. Within the last year and a half, I've started with some very recognizable symptoms. Within the last 6 months, specifically, I've lost 25 pounds within the last month, have a recurrent fever of 100, drenching night sweats, intense itching and generalized lymphadenopathy (ranging in size). My spleen is also enlarged according to a recent ct scan. I have been tested (serum and scans) for everything under the sun, but no one will do a biopsy. The doctors palpate the lymph nodes with which I am concerned, but always discount them. Not a single doctor has invested time/energy in seeing that I receive an accurate diagnosis. They seem to think I will go away, or that it's not that big of a problem. I am terribly afraid of what will happen if I do not receive help soon. Do you have any suggestions?

Given your symptoms, you have every reason to do a biopsy.  I guess the question is what kind of doctors have you been seeing?  Unfortunately family doctors and general internists do not always have malignancies in mind when they work with patients.  You should see a surgeon, at least to get the biopsy done.  Once that happens and you have a diagnosis, you should see a relevant specialist.  
Some of the things that come to mind are hodgkin's disease, a non-hodkgin's lymphoma, an infection (fungal, tuberculosis) sarcoidosis.  Rarely, this sort of thing might indicate another kind of cancer.  And you can't forget things like diabetes and hyperthyroidism as contributing to your symptoms.  However, the itching, recurrent fever, enlarged spleen, nodes, and weight loss all would make me think of the first three diagnoses in the list.  Hope this helps.  If you have further problems, let me know where you live and I'll see if I know someone there that might be worth consulting.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Donald Higby, M.D.


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.


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.

American Society of Clinical Oncology

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

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

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