Several swollen Lymph Nodes for months

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I'm a 16 yr old male, and a few months ago, (I think December) I noticed a small bump on my jaw. It hurt a little and I just ignored it. It stopped hurting after a few days, but didn't disappear. It has slowly gotten larger to just under 1cm or so now. A couple months after that, in February or March, I noticed a couple more smaller, harder bumps behind my ear. They weren't as movable and didn't hurt. They were about half a centimetre when I first noticed them. A while after noticing them I felt 2 more, smaller ones on the back of my head that felt harder, but more movable. Right now the largest is one of the two behind my right ear, and it's a little over 1.5cm, from what I can tell. In total there are 6 of these small bumps, 4 of which appear to be in 2 separate pairs.

I only recently did research into it, and what came up scared me. I found out that they are swollen glands and lymph nodes, and are often a sign of nasty illnesses like Leukaemia and Lymphoma. I've gotten more worried too, because I don't have any other symptoms and they don't appear to have gotten bigger due to infections or viruses. I'm quite scared, so any insight into what could be wrong with me is very nice smile

Also, I think theres another on the left side of my neck, a long thin rectangular one. I can't remember when that was first there, because I swear it's been a part of my neck for as long as I can remember, so this could just be me being scared and paranoid. But I thought I should mention it.

Sorry, this is a little more than I thought I would write confused

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  • Posted

    Anyone know anything?
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  • Posted

    Hey Benzo,

    I've been exactly where you are at the moment, constantly fiddling with my lymph nodes, threating that i had some kind of cancer but guess what, you can stop worrying!

    The amount of anxiety that lymph nodes cause is crazy, most online searches almost always list cancer as a main cause of this, but in reality cancer accounts for a very small proportion of enlarged lymph nodes and should only really be considered if a node has grown consistently larger over time, was always painless, is unmovable, sometimes bumpy or gritty to the touch (although some nodes end up like this anyway, i believe they are known as "shotty lymph nodes") and or matted together with other nearby nodes or underlying structures, but i'm sure you've read that already!

    So let's take your experience. The node you first noticed under your jaw, a very common place to find enlarged lymph nodes, the pain indicates a non-cancerous cause such as an infection. It's normal to expect the tenderness to stop after a few days but the node to remain enlarged for a long time, if not permanently, but not growing significantly in size. The size may fluctuate as nodes are supposed to enlarge as part of your immune system doing it's job, anything under 1-1.5cm should not bother you though.

    So if your like me, after discovering your first node and hitting the internet the more you explored your head and neck the more you found. Again this is normal. The majority of people, especially teenagers will have detectable nodes in the some if not all of the locations you have described. I'm 22 and i have two about 1.5cm submental nodes on both sides under my chin that have been there as long as i can remember and move about. I have two nodes behind my ear that fluctuate in size (have been about 1.5cm before) and are always quite hard and detectable (exactly like you). Same story with a node on the back of my neck and under my armpit, all checked out normal. 

    When you say they are in pairs, most lymph nodes are found in groups or pairs. You should also research what area of the body they are responsible for as it may point to a specific cause. Infections often go unnoticed as the lymph node has already swollen, trapped and destroyed the infection before symptoms have appeared. Injurys to the scalp, dandruff, these are also potential causes for behind the ear enlargements as is the common cold. 

    Just because they are painless now, doesnt mean they were not caused by infection as the pain can be very fleeting whilst the nodes can remain enlarged for ages, many years in some cases including mine. 

    So firstly try not to be scared, i expect many of these nodes have been around long before you noticed them and continue to be for a long time. If i was you, next time you visit your doctor just ask them to feel them just so you can hear it from them that this is really nothing to worry about. If you ever have any node grow consistently bigger and bigger, make sure it's checked out, otherwise stop thinking your about to die like i was doing, get a doctors opinion and crack on! 

    If the anxiety ever returns, re-read this for some peace of mind. Your doctor will provide you with complete closure.

    All the best! Happens to alot of us!


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    • Posted

      Thanks so much, this was really interesting and you definitely have me less anxious smile

      I'm currently going through my GCSE exams so this extra stress is not helpful at all! I'm going to head to the Dr's once they're done, which is in a week's time. Thanks for replying, and in such detail. It's so nice that people go out of their way just to help some random people on the internet, so thank you smile

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  • Posted


    I know this is an old post but I have just been reading up on lymph mode swelling and I was wondering how you got on?

    Hope you're ok and that your GCSES went well. My daughter did hers last year and I am looking into lymph mode issues as she has some at the moment.

    Take care x

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