Oncology (General Cancer)/lymph glands


QUESTION: My mom had a peace of her tounge cut off it had cancer and everything is good now.

But they toock 40 lymph glnds from her neck.

Now her neck is very swolen.

hey say just rub the neck going up.

What else can she do?

ANSWER: Not much.  When they took out the lymph nodes, they destroyed the normal lymphatic drainage.  Massage of the area encourages the lymph channels to open up. If you don't do this, the neck stays swollen and eventually the fluid is replaced by scar tissue.  So it's very important to massage.  Eventually this will improve although may not completely disappear.  There are some plastic surgeons who deal with this kind of problem when it doesn't respond to the regular treatment.  So if she's still in trouble three or four months from now, I'd see a plastic surgeon.  Hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the help.

Can you tell if my moms lymph nodes are removed an'd the fluid keeps coming back how will a surgeon GED rid of it?

PS............how many times can I ask a fallow up?  I see I can only post two times and the tab to ask a fallow up will not be here.

I think there is a limit to follow-ups, but I don't know for sure;  you can always start a new question series though.  If the fluid does not disappear, someone needs to determine if it is chylous (coming from the lymph ducts) or serous (coming from blocked tissue).  This involves sampling the fluid and examining it.  People with chylous accumulations may actually need a surgical procedure to tie off the lymph channel which is leaking fluid;  If there is serous accumulation, some plastic surgeons will swing a flap of subcutaneous tissue into the area to establish new drainage.  Right now, though, it sounds like you are on the right track.  Keep up the massages and eventually this should stop being a problem.  Hope this helps.  

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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