Oncology (General Cancer)/Lymph node biopsy

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Question
Hi
I spoke with you back in April about some swollen neck nodes that I was awaiting a biopsy on. The biopsy came back benign for cancer and just stayed benign reactive lymph nodes. My ent removed three matted lymph nodes about the size of his thumb. He still doesn't know what caused them but is not worried since the biopsy ruled out lymphoma. My question is I still have the lump inside the tip of my tongue and being a worrier I am still worried I could have cancer of the tongue causing the swollen lymph nodes. Is this even possible bc the biopsy came back being benign that I could have tongue cancer without showing up on a lymph node biopsy? I think I am just worried for no reason. My ent thinks my tongue is fine and there is no need to remove the lump bc it would be painful. Also I am still feeling the lump under my jaw which I thought was the lymph node but apparently it wasn't. He did say there area glands there that I may be feeling. He did remove the matted nodes which I am no longer feeling in my neck when I move and when I swallow. Do you think I should be worried anymore or just let it go? Thanks.

Answer
He is right about removing the tongue nodule.  The tongue is full of nerves and you can get some pretty severe chronic pain when you cut into it.  However, the fact that the nodes are negative for cancer cells does mean that they have nothing to do with cancer of the tongue, and given what you've told me, the lump in the tongue is not cancer.  Also, when lymph nodes are removed you can have scar tissue form where the nodes were, so that you still might feel a little lump.  I think you should try to put the whole thing out of your mind for two months, then see if things have changed.  If not, don't worry.  Hope this helps.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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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

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