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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Lymphoma

Question: left supraclavicle node & lump on rib cage

 squidahoy - Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:58 am

I don't really feel night sweats, fever, or fatigue, but at this point, have become frustrated with the doctors available to me. So, y'all are my last line of defense.

In mid-April/early May, I noticed I have a fair-sized mass on my (left) rib cage that is about 2.5-3 cm in length/1cm wide. It started out tender but is now only very intermittently sore. It's also pretty moveable. Went to about 3 different doctors, & my bloodwork came back fine: normal white & red cell counts. Got a chest x-ray: that came back clear, too. Although it was still sore, they convinced me to ignore it as a lipoma. Through August & September, things seemed to be on the road to getting better...the soreness went away although the lump stayed. It's not grown noticeably, but hasn't gotten smaller, either. However...

Last night I found a supraclavicular lymphnode. It's only pea-sized, and is also very mobile... but the location makes me worry. That side of my neck & shoulder have been sore, but I really thought it was from a rather nasty flare-up of TMJD. The node itself isn't particularly tender. I guess you could call it rubbery-feeling...not stone hard, not squishy/soft, but like, for lack of a better description, a small, dry pea.

So, should I go to the doctors again? The chest thing took about 4 visits before they'd do an x-ray. When that came back clear, they basically dismissed me as depressive ('cause I was still worried about the lump), and shooed me out the door with some Wellbutrin. With the new bump, should I go back again & have them look for something more serious?

Thanks so much for your advice!
 Theresa Jones, RN - Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:06 am

User avatar Hi squidahoy,
Lipomas are benign fatty tumors in the subcutaneous area of the skin. These commonly are present for an extended period of time before a person actually realizes they are there. Some may grow quite large and can occur anywhere on the body. Most lipomas don't cause any symptoms but occasionally when they become large enough to interfere with adjacent muscles or encompass small blood vessels they may become tender/painful. When this occurs they can be surgically removed.
Lymph node enlargement:
Following infection lymph nodes occasionally remain permanently enlarged, though they should be non-tender, small (less the 1 cm), have a rubbery consistency and none of the characteristics described for malignancy or for infection. These are also known as 'Shotty Lymph nodes'.
Infected Lymph nodes however, tend to be:
Firm, tender, enlarged and warm. Inflammation can spread to the overlying skin, causing it to appear reddened.
Lymph nodes harboring malignant disease tend to be firm, non-tender, matted (ie, stuck to each other), fixed (ie, not freely mobile but rather stuck down to underlying tissue), and increase in size over time.
Although enlargement of lymph nodes in the supraclavicular area can be somewhat disconcerting, lymph nodes less than 1 cm in size are often typically of benign causes. I would suggest that if you remain concerned about the "lipoma" as well as the appearance of the supraclavicular lymph node request a referral to a surgeon for evaluation.
Theresa Jones, RN

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