I have a few questions that I cannot seem to find answers to concerning lymph nodes. Particularly the lymph nodes of the neck and the lower back of the head. The doctors, understandably, are very vague in their responses. My story is as follows. I am a 42 year old male. I smoked for about 18 years and have been quit for about 9 years. I eat right, excercise. I have had swollen lymph nodes in the neck and back of my head for several months now. They begin under the chin, and travel all the way down to the base of my neck on both sides, as well as at the base of the skull in the back, and down the back of the neck to the base. I have had these about 5 months now. It is also accompanied with ear pain. When swollen, they are soft and tender, and very sore. They are not hard or rubbery to the touch. While going thru tests and months of doctor visits they were each putting me on antibiotics. When I am on the antibiotics (6 cycles to date) the lymph nodes and swelling go down. They don't go away completely, but they do stop being as painful and do go almost completely down. When the antibiotics are over they swell again and get painful. This has held true thru several cycles of antibiotics. I do not know at this point if it is cancer, but the longer this continues I am beginning to get really worried. I know that antibiotics will not affect cancer but....My first question is …just because there are swollen lymph nodes, that doesn't necessarily mean that cancer is in the nodes correct? It could be somewhere else and the nodes are just swelling in defense correct? If the swelling nodes do not contain cancer and are only swelling because of cancer somewhere else, would antibiotics reduce the swelling temporarily? Obviously I'm looking for a reason to relieve the stress I am under. So far they have not found anything to explain why they are swollen and have been extremely painful for so long. I am really worried. Please give me your best guess. I have been tested for numerous things including mono, lupus, HIV, Hepatitis, Thyroid, strep throat, and many other simple infections that would explain it. I have had my neck scoped, x rays and CT scans, and numerous blood work. Everything comes back normal. But I am really tired and constantly keep the ear pain and neck soreness. Thank you for your time and I greatly appreciate any advice you could offer. At this point I don’t know what the next step should be.
I saw a neurologist last week because of a persistent headache on the left side of my head and severe pain at the base of my skull. He thought maybe it is a pinched nerve at the base of my skull, but I was just diagnosed yesterday with malignant melanoma (skin biopsy done on my left arm one week ago). I don't feel a lump or knot in the painful area. Can I safely assume it's not related?
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