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Healthy 5 year old with one very swollen lymph node

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A few months ago I noticed that my 5 year old ds had a nickel sized lump on the side of his neck that was visible when he tilted his head. I was alarmed, but assumed he was fighting something off or that it was related to his less than ideal diet (high in non-gluten grains, peanut butter, more sugar than I am comfortable with due to a granola bar addiction, low in greens). I decided to watch it and see what happened.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago when I noticed it again. I honestly don't know if it has reappeared or was there the entire time as I was coping with severe hg while attending school and involved with the weaning process of my 2 year old. My husband was doing most of the helping with baths, nighttime routine and didn't notice it. I feel terrible that I didn't keep up with this and can't believe I forgot to keep an eye on it.

My brother in law, who is a dr. looked at it today. When he found out how long ago I had noticed it, he seemed worried. He said that it didn't seem infection/viral related because it is only one lymph node and that if it was an infection it should have drained by now. I told him that I was making an appointment tomorrow with the ped, he thought that was a good idea.

Ds has not been sick once since July 2009 when he came down with swine flu. He never has ear infections or sore throats or complains of any symptoms. All of my kids are currently homeschooled, so they aren't exposed to as many things as they were when they went to school.

Has anyone ever heard of a painless lymph node in a non-symptomatic child that was NOT cancer? I am incredibly worried. My dad died of intestinal cancer and my mom had breast and esophogeal cancer.

I am going to try castor oil packs and probably some trampoline jumping until we get more answers. Any additional suggestions are greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11
ETA: Sorry, I didn't read that your DC was asymptomatic.

My DD gets a painless lump in a node above her throat every single time she's fighting an infection. In fact, DH and I automatically check for the lump before we check her temperature (and even just randomly check it when cuddling her - it's her health barometer ). I talked to my doc about it the first time, freaking out, and she said that it's normal - it's white blood cell overload and the lymph filtering viruses/bacteria like crazy.

I always check everything out first with my doc, though, so that THEY know, and so that I am satisfied with the answer.
post #3 of 11
I thought that swollen lymph nodes were sort of normal for kids. My six year old has had one for about a year. Should I be worried? He gets full bloodwork every six months, and it all came back normal looking.
post #4 of 11
Enlarged lymph nodes can be there for several reasons. Is it soft, firm, or rubbery? Smooth or bumpy? Does it move, or is it "stuck" to the tissue? If it's soft, smooth, and mobile, it's very likely reactive. The other kinds can be reactive as well, but if it's soft, smooth, and mobile, it's almost always pretty benign.
post #5 of 11
Sometimes even something as simple as an insect bite can cause a swollen lymph node. It doesn't have to be a symptomatic virus. Sometimes they're swollen because the body is fighting something, but beating it enough to not show symptoms.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
It isn't hard like the "bb" that is described for breast cancer detection. It feels like a soft bean under the skin. It is smooth, but I am not sure about mobile. It does move a little under the skin-it doesn't seem to be totally stuck in one spot.

We started castor oil packs and go hardcore with the diet tomorrow. The possibility of having a needle stuck in his neck is motivating him to cooperate in this respect. We see the doc in a week, so I am hoping for some improvement by then. I hadn't thought about bug bites-I suppose there are an indeterminate number of things that could contribute to swollen glands. I just can't help worrying because he's never sick (that sounds weird).
post #7 of 11
Soft, smooth, and mobile are all very very good signs. Lymphoma would be firm and rubbery while another form of cancer would make the lymph node rock hard and stuck to the tissue, and both of them would likely have a more "pebbly" texture rather than smooth. So the chances of it being a bad thing are incredibly slim given what you said. I'm not even sure they'd do a fine needle biopsy on a soft smooth lymph node in a child. (I have had a FNB on a lymph node...I've had a hard enlarged lymph node in my cheek for the past 9 months, and they've done 2 CT scans, 2 ultrasounds, and a FNB on it only because of the fact that it was hard and painless (although it is smooth, they wanted to be cautious). So far, everything came back clear, but they're continuing to monitor it. They said if it was soft, they wouldn't give it any more attention because soft is almost always benign.)
post #8 of 11
I can't believe I found this!

I had what I thought was a bug bite or something on my chest a few months ago, didn't really think about it. Then a few days ago in the car, I noticed it again. I didn't even know I HAD a lymph node there. Today, when I realized that's what it is, I freaked out and went to a walk in/urgent care facility. They first did a chest x ray (clear!) and told me to follow up with my gyno. I'm glad to read all these reasons that it could be nothing.

For the record, it's smooth, not super hard, and I'm not sure what you mean by mobile so I can't comment on that.

I am terrified to google. It has been such a hard year for my family. I want to find out that this is nothing ASAP. I'm calling my gyno for an apointment first thing in the morning. Right now, I'm just kind of a nervous wreck. The doctor didn't give me any real reason to be, but I am already up to my eyeballs in anxiety most days, this is not helping. I wish I could have a big long freak out and cry, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to stop.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post
Soft, smooth, and mobile are all very very good signs. Lymphoma would be firm and rubbery while another form of cancer would make the lymph node rock hard and stuck to the tissue, and both of them would likely have a more "pebbly" texture rather than smooth. So the chances of it being a bad thing are incredibly slim given what you said. I'm not even sure they'd do a fine needle biopsy on a soft smooth lymph node in a child. (I have had a FNB on a lymph node...I've had a hard enlarged lymph node in my cheek for the past 9 months, and they've done 2 CT scans, 2 ultrasounds, and a FNB on it only because of the fact that it was hard and painless (although it is smooth, they wanted to be cautious). So far, everything came back clear, but they're continuing to monitor it. They said if it was soft, they wouldn't give it any more attention because soft is almost always benign.)
2 different ped's are electing to not biopsy my son's lymph node because it's soft and mobile. We did do a blood draw to make sure his cell count was okay. It's been swollen consistently for 2 years. It just doesn't shrink down. It doesn't seem to cause him pain.
post #10 of 11
NAK
I had one under my jaw that swelled off and on (mostly on) for years that turned out- after biopsy, CT scans and all- to be a dental issue. An absessed tooth that was draining into that node the whole time. Don't know how common that is but thought I'd throw it in; I remember how horrible it was to think about cancer.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just a quick update-the ped measured it after manipulating it and wants to wait and see. She thinks that it is likely a lymph node that swelled after an illness (my guess is H1N1, the only time he was sick in the last year) and never went back down.

Thanks for the info on the dental issue-he visited recently and got a clean bill, but it is something to keep in mind.
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