Oncology (General Cancer)/Possible Relapsed?

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Question
Recently, within the last week or so, the lymph nodes in my neck and armpit have begone to swell. It started with one side my neck then after a day or so my one armpit and it feels as though the other side of my neck as well as my other armpit might be beginning to swell as well.They are tender and somewhat painful to the touch and the lymph node under my arm is leaking pus. It's been about a week since it started.. I am not sick in any other way no cough, sore throat, fever, etc nothing like that.

A five years ago I was treated for non-hodgkin's lymphoma, in the neck/lungs/armpit and again after I relapsed (returned on my spine) a few months after the cancer had cleared and the doctors claimed it returned "atypical". Not sure if this matters but thought I should mention it.

Anyway its been about a year since I last went for scans/blood-work/etc and I'm due back within another few months anyway...

I'm wondering if these swollen lymph nodes could be a sign the cancer is back? And if I should meet with my doctor sooner?

Answer
With your history, they certainly could be a sign that the cancer has returned.  The good thing is that it doesn't matter a whole lot when you begin treating lymphoma, especially recurrent lymphoma.  Some other cancers, like lung cancer, are best treated at early stages; but recurrent lymphomas have about the same prognosis whether you start sooner or later.  If this is your third strike, and you are relatively healthy, it might be time to look into an approach using high dose chemotherapy and stem cell replacement.  Best luck.  

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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