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lymph nodes above collarbone
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lymph nodes above collarbone

Is it "normal" to have "reactive" nodes above the collarbone and near the shoulder?? I first noticed them 6 months before my B/C diagnosis. My oncologist is not worried because they are not growing and the MRI calls them "reactive" My question is, do alot of people have these?? How possible is it that it could it be a tiny symptom of something yet to come???
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hi.  "Reactive" nodes mean that those nodes are enlarged as a result of an infection or an inflammation in a nearby site/organ. The enlarged node is a result of an accumulation of white blood cells, and indicate a natural reaction of the body to inflammation or infection.  Reactive nodes can be found anywhere, and it is common to have these kind of nodes above the collarbone (supraclavicular).   However, since you were diagnosed to have breast cancer (B/C?) some time ago, we need to check whether that prominent supraclavicular node is JUST a reactive node, and not something else.  It is very possible for breast cancer to spread to the supraclavicular node, and the only way to be sure that there are no metastases to that node is to do a biopsy.  The MRI cannot definitely tell you based on the appearance of the node alone, whether it is merely reactive or if it contains cancer cells. Only a biopsy can tell you that.  It is possible that your oncologist decided to forgo doing a biopsy since the supraclavicular node has not increased in size over time.  But if that node is markedly increased in size to begin with, I think it's worth doing the biopsy to check out the possibility of cancer spread..
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your reply,.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry, I have 1 more question...

In your opinon, should there be cause for concern if these "reactive" nodes last a long time, well over a year, without ever disappearing completely?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hi.  If the nodes remain enlarged for a long time, it may mean that there is a recurrent or lingering inflammation or infection, OR, the nodes are not "reactive" at all and need to be biopsied to check if they indicate a more serious condition, like cancer metastases.
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