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Are Palpable Lymh Nodes considered normal?
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Are Palpable Lymh Nodes considered normal?

I had a physical months ago with a respected internist. When he checked lymph nodes, he said that he could feel lymph nodes in differnt areas. He could feel what he called "very small" symetrical nodes in the neck, soft nodes in the axilla, small nodes in the groin area, and small nodes in the epitrochlear bilaterally. He said the nodes felt normal and not malignant and they were small. He said that being thinner can make it easy to feel nodes in the groin and it is common to feel nodes in the axilla area of men. My question is: Do palpable nodes necessarily mean a disease process or something serious?
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Some of the larger lymph nodes can be palpated easily - especially in thinner persons.

Lymph nodes normally enlarge in infection and diseases of inflammation.  After the infection has been treated, or the inflammatory process has passed, they normally decrease in size.

Lymph nodes that persistantly remain elevated should be evaluated for cancer (i.e. a lymphoma).  

You can discuss this with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
kevinmd_b
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Some of the larger lymph nodes are normally palpable.  If your blood work also confirms that there is no infective or malignant process happening it adds further reassurance.  If you doctor feels that they are not enlarged and you have no clinical features of a disease process i would not worry too much about this.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks. What areas would some of the normally palpable nodes be?
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Avatar_n_tn
Well all of the lymph node groups that your physician examined are the most common palpable regions.  You have lymph networks all over the body. The palpable ones are the ones that lie closer to the skin and not deep within the body.  The fact that they are palpable really means nothing other than that you have a well trained physician examining you, as they can be difficult to feel many times.  There are other factors that are of concern such as size, tendernes and mobility.
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Avatar_m_tn
Usually if the nodes are symtrical it rules out cancer and can point to an infection if they are large. If you have one big node and on the other side a smaller node it can indicate cancer but this isn't always true.

Also don't concentrate on your body so much that you are checking it every single day because if you feel around long enough odds are you will find something that is odd even if it is normal anatomy.

Of course I am not a doctor and you should discuss this with your PCP.
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