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Oncology (General Cancer)/Swollen lymph nodes... Worried sick


Two years ago I found 3 swollen lymph nodes. One behind my right ear one the size of a bean and it was very tender and the other two behind my left ear the size of a tiny seed and they are hard. I went to my doctor and she said they felt perfectly normal and explained to me there was nothing to be worried about. A few weeks ago I found another in my jaw the size of a bean and it was firm and very moveable. I am fifteen years old by the way.  I went to a new doctor and she felt them and said they felt normal and healthy .. I got blood tests done and they came back normal. She said they felt normal and a biopsy wasn't needed. Same with the other doctor. They said they would only order one if they were generally concerned. I have very bad anxiety and I spend hours reading on the Internet about lymphoma and convincing myself I have it. I have panic attacks over it.. I am scheduled to see a psychiatrist in June and I currently see my doctor every week until I see him.  I run long distance for my track team and we run
Miles and wouldn't I have symptoms if I had lymphoma? I mean I run 6 miles sometimes. I always convince myself I have have it and that's why I'm getting help but I really needed a cancer specialists opinion. And also, my swollen lymph nodes have not grown in size at all and have stayed the exact same size. Please give me your advice! Thank you so so much!

Tender lymph nodes are generally not likely to be lymphoma, but more likely to be infected by a virus or bacteria.  Sometimes they are just "inflamed" because they are draining an infected area.  Nodes that are hard and the size of seeds are probably not nodes, but more likely something else.  Finally, it isn't unusual to have nodes that you can feel when you are in your teens.  Lymphomas almost always grow.  If you've had these for two years and nothing is changing, this is a good sign that you don't have a lymphoma.  Finally, even if you have a lymphoma (and I don't think you do) most of the time in a teenager the disease is curable.  I would quit worrying unless the nodes at least double in size.  And if you are going to measure them, measure them with a ruler, and do it only once a month.  Keep running, and stop worrying!  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

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America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

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