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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: Swollen supraclavicular lymph node left side

 cmalon - Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:22 pm

I have had a swollen and painful supraclavicular lymph node left side since February 2005. I went to the Dr. and they asked if I had been sick? Yes, I had a terrible respiratory, cold infection in January that lasted about 3 weeks -but had no fever. After I told them that, they prescribed Bactrim -antibiotic? and decongestant, and nasal spray. I took those for 10 days, and there was no improvement. I went back to the Dr., and they referred me to a surgeon for a biopsy. I went to see the surgeon, and we started with a chest x-ray, and now I am scheduled for a CT scan with contrast of the neck and chest on Monday. I am having a terrible time with all the wild thoughts that are coming in my head (and also some of the things that I have been reading on the internet, ex. that for people over the age of 40, a supraclavicular swollen lymph node is cancer 90% of the time. So I have convinced myself that it is cancer (because I do smoke) and I am dying. Is there anyone who can shed some light on this and maybe ease my mind a little bit that I am NOT dying? I have tried to get some answers from the Dr. about the chest x-ray, but they won't tell me anything. Would you progress with a CT scan if the x-ray showed something abnormal, or would I be progressing to a CT scan even if the x-ray showed normal so they can rule out (I hope, I hope) certain things? I am an extremely nervous person, and these wild thoughts are getting the better of me -I need a Xanax. :D Thank you for anyone who might be able to help me.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:54 pm

User avatar Hello,
A few questions: How large is this lymph node? Is it growing in size? The fact that it was tender at one stage is more in favour of inflammation which is why your doctors put you on antibiotics. If the lymph node is large enough (more than 1 cm) or is growing then I would follow your doctor's procedure of ruling out cancer by CT scan of the chest and if needed abdomen and pelvis. According to the clinical examination you may need further investigation.
Best regards.
 cmalon - Wed Apr 27, 2005 4:36 pm

Hello Doctor Fouad:
Thank you for taking time to answer me. This is just a guess but I think I remember them saying something about 2 cm and oblong feeling. It has remained the same size since I discovered it in February. It is very sensitive to touch and pretty much hurts most of the time. It especially hurts when I am bending over. I have no mouth lesions and the other areas of lymph nodes are not affected, from what the dr. says. The pain radiates to the back of my neck sometimes. I am just so scared at this point and hating to have to wait for the testing on MOnday. So you are saying this stuff I read on the net can be wrong about the % of being cancer? I just would like to think that it could be something other than cancer. Again, thank you for taking time with me.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:08 pm

User avatar Yes of course. Lymph nodes have a function in the body and that is to fight infection not to develop cancer. In cancer lymph nodes are usually not tender. Many 'inflammations' of the lymph glands can persist for some time. If it is two centimeters in size then all I can tell you is that it should be taken seriously. That is exactly what is happening now. Until the results come out I would not worry about it if I were you. Let's go one step at a time and not jump to any conclusions.
Let me know how it all turns out!
 cmalon - Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:45 pm

Thank You Dr. Fouad. I did just find out that my chest x-ray is normal. That made me feel so much better. Your information also makes me feel a lot better. I am trying not to think about it so much. I will let you know how the CT scan goes next week. I can not thank you enough for taking time to chat with me. You have made me feel more optimistic and not so anxious. Talk with you soon.
 cmalon - Wed May 04, 2005 9:01 am

HI. I went to the Dr. yesterday. My results of the CT scan of the neck and chest showed a mass on the left side on/in the thyroid. The first doctor thought it was a lymph node and was puzzled so he sent me to another doctor that he says has more expertise. He was nice enough to send me right away instead of lettimg me wonder what the heck is going on. He is very compasionate and understands that this is really playing havoc on my nerves.

The new doctor read the CT scan and (chest x-ray, which was negative), and said the mass is on the left thyroid causing my wind pipe and stuff to move to the right side and be out of place. He also did an ultrasound in the office. The Dr. decided that a needle biopsy would not do me much good since the mass must be taken out anyway. I guess then they will know if it is cancer or not (praying it is not). If it is, he said they would remove the entire thyroid and maybe a couple of lymph nodes, and then I will have to do some type of radioiodine thing.

He also mentioned that there were some 1-2 mm spots on my lungs but did not seem too worried about that and just talked about the thyroid. He told me that thyroid cancer has a good prognosis? He also told me at this point, he just does not know if it is cancer or not. I am having panic attacks constantly now because I have convinced myself that this is it, and a year from now, I will be dead. I do smoke and I want to quit desperately, but all this stress has made this virtually impossible. Without even knowing it, I will light up. I then think "you stupid idiot" stop this immediately.

I am very scared to say the least. The doctor's office is supposed to call today and get me set up with the preoperative testing and then we go from there. I am just praying that I will get through this without losing my mind. Thanks in advance for any input.
 cmalon - Sun May 22, 2005 10:58 am

Update. Well on the 10th of this month I had neck surgery to remove the swollen (what they thougth was on my thyroid) node. It turned out not to be the thyroid -it was fine. They decided not to remove the swollen supraclavicular left lymph and just cut out pieces and sent in for biopsy. It came back malignant from an unknown origin. The surgeon flat out told my husband that I have lung cancer. When I went to a medical oncologist, he told me that I had to have more tests to determine the origin of the cancer. I am scheduled for a PET scan on Monday. Needless to say, I am petrified what all this means. Does it make a difference which side of the neck the swollen node is on? I know I have cancer but where could it really be? One doc says lung and one says he is just not sure he can say it is lung cancer. The node is on the left side of my neck. Anywhere I could look to find some info out about this? At this point, all I am feeling is gloom and doom. Any input?
 Befallingdusk - Tue May 24, 2005 1:34 am

Dear Cindy,

I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis! I recently posted on this site as well, under the heading "Puzzling/complex symptoms involving supraclavicular edema." You should be very grateful that your doctors are moving quickly to get your diagnosis, as mine are being slower than molasses. The sooner they have the reason, the sooner they can treat you and make you better, so keep your chin up! Don't look at it as being on the road to disease, but rather, you're on the road to recovery!

Would you mind too much if I asked you about the nature of your swollen node? Could I ask if you could feel the node itself, or did you have general tissue swelling above the supraclavicular nodular area? I've read the statics as well, and I too, am very concerned and worried about my personal situation.

Take care and I pray everything works out well for you,
 amberrv - Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:38 pm

Hello, I also have lump on the supraclavicular area. The doctor said based on the ultrasound result said there's nothing to worry about. The blood test also shows no sign of infections.

My lymph node is not tender. I read somewhere in this post that if it's not tender then it could be cancer?

I freaked out when I felt the lump and now I'm even more freaked out when I read that this might be symptom of cancer?

I hope someone could shed some light..

 mathworks - Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:29 pm

After 6 months my 2 cm enlarged left supraclavicular node was removed 12 days ago. Today the stitches were removed and my DR. said lab results aren't yet completed since they needed a 2nd look at something and something about a "marker" as part of the secondary lab work.... He said that when he removed the node that visually it was fragile in one area and hard with scar tissue and somewhat attached to the surrounding tissue at another area of the node. He hopes final analysis w/b available this Thursday, but I realize tonight that, though I was confused and couldn't think of any questions I had for him while at my appointment, I now feel this seems there's a high likelihood that this is not a good. Can you translate for me where I'm at medically at this point? I don't understand whether this is not really significant.

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