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painful enlarged lymphnoid in armpit

I am a 29 year old male, in fairly good health, little on the heavy side.I have had no prior health issues.In November of 2003 I noticed a very large and very painful swelling in my left armpit area, about the size of a racket ball and enough pain to make it hard to sleep at night.Along with this when I first noticed it I was feeling bad with flue like sytoms, fatigue, body aches, and chills, but no fever.These symtoms passed in about a week or less but not the swelling and pain.I went to see my Dr. (internal medicine), he asked if I had any cut or infected areas on my body, the only thing i had was a small pea sized bump like a bug bite on my left hand, he didn't pay much attention to it.He then examed the rest of my lymphnoid areas and requested blood work, to check white blood count and for mono.On this day I had a cold still,(have a 15 month old that attends daycare).Got blood drawn and he said to come back in two weeks after thanksgiving.When I returned he examed the lymphnoid in the armpit and said it felt more defined and larger, I thought it felt a bit smaller and had noticed less pain.He went over blood test results and said I was neg for mono and my white blood was alittle elevated (possibly due to small area on hand or cold poss?)During the wait between visits I had lanced the small area on my hand like a pimple and puss was in the area within 2 days the swelling on the area on my hand disappeared.The Dr. then requested a chest x-ray and requested I see a surgeon for a biopsy.I had the chest x-ray and he said everything looked good, said the lyphm swelling was probly just an infection, but said I still need a biopsy.On Dec. 3 I went to see the surgeon and I noticed it had gone down a bit.He checked me out, for other possible swollen areas and found none, it had been a month now that the lyphm has been swollen, he said if it was him he'd wait on the biopsy another month, this has been bothering me for some time greatly so I scheduled the biopsy for the next week and I asked him if the swelling goes down any more or away completely if I sould cancle and he said yes but that wasn't likely.Over a 4 day period the swelling went down by half, from larger golfball size to maybe a fifty cent peice.So I called and cancle the biopsy after telling his nurse that they oked it, they asked if I would like to try some antibiotic and I said I'd like to wait another week. Another week went by and no change, pain still minial.Then recieved cipiro for 10 days no change.I have now reschuduled a biopsy on the 16 of Jan and have noticed somedays I have pain some none, and the lyphm now feels elongated but smaller and not as hard as weeks past.It has now been 2 months should I go through with the biopsy or not worry about it unless it gets bigger? I hate to do something if not needed especiaally went 2 diff dr. said to wait and one said not to worry if going down in size.It has been 2 months and no other systoms of cancer or things like that.What should Ido?
6 Responses
233190 tn?1278553401
The axillary nodes receive drainage from the arm, thoracic wall, and breast. Infections, including cat scratch disease, are common causes of axillary lymphadenopathy.  If infection is not found, then cancer may be a possibility.  

I would consider going through the biopsy to ensure cancer isn't present.  Different doctors are going to have different opinions, but if it was the size of a golfball, then it would be reasonable to err on the side of caution and have it biopsied.

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.
Avatar universal
Also cat scratch fever has not been ruled out, due to I have had contact with a young cat (that wasn't taken care of), possible cause of small infected spot on left hand. I have felt great physically but been alittle worried mentally. I have read that it can take up to 6 months for lymph gland swelling to subside.  My main question is if this isn't just an infection, why haven't I had any swelling anywhere else and no other sytoms?
Avatar universal
I'm not a doctor, but I have had Cat Scratch. The symptoms you have mentioned are very similar to what I had. I had a kitten who was very playfull and scratchy, at one stage my hands were covered in scratches. I developed a very large (golf ball size) swollen gland in my neck which caused me to have very bad headaches, but other that that I felt fine. I had chest xrays, ultra sound scans, ENT check ups, and all seemed fine. I had a biopsy an eventually they said it was Cat Scratch. It took about 4 months for the lymph node to go down fully, it is not large anymore but I can feel the lymph node (it is hard - due to the damage apparently). If I were you I would have a biopsy just to be safe, it wont hurt you and at least you will know for sure. Good luck and best wishes.
Avatar universal
I too, have recently ran into this problem, About 3 1/2 weeks ago I noticed a lump the size of a jelly bean in my right arm pit. It hurt for a day or so, but now It only hust when I apply pressure. I live with a doctor and He noticed that I had a cat scratch on my right hand. He told me If I would have gone in to see a GP they most likely diagosed me with Lymphoma. He then put me on Biaxin, which made me sick. So after about Two weeks he then perscibed Levaquin. Iv'e been on that for About six days now and the swelling seems to have gone down, but not away. The more I read up on this the more it worries me, I have'nt  gone to a clynic yet so I suppose there really no reasurance for me.
Unfortunately, money's a little tight so I probably won't be able to se a physician for another month or so. Does anyone know the usual rates for seeing a doctor about this sort of thing?
Avatar universal
I am a 24 yr old female who just got back from a wonderful vacation in Mexico!  My last day in Mexico my throat felt a little achy, but not real painful.  The next day (my first day home from Cancun)  I went to work (gymnastics instructor) and after an hr or 2 i got pain, tender feeling in my rt arm pit, w/ a little swelling.  I couldnt even lift my arm up.  The next day the pain subsided along w/ the swelling, but still there.  The next day, I woke up fine, went to work and within the first hr, pain(worse then rt arm pit) in my left arm pit and much bigger lump, very sore, soft and tender, can hardly touch it, and its hard to put my arm down to the side.  Other symptoms are achy throat, very fatigue,(some)trouble focusing my eye(dizzy feeling). Ive been doing some research about this on the internet and i dont know what to believe.  Although I dont believe its cancerous b/c i read the symptoms for that and i dont have those. Now i was reading someone elses excerpt, and they said they got a bug bite and maybe that could be the cause of the swollen lymph node.  Well I got a bug bite in Mexico the second nite, and i ignored it and it itched and it swelled up a lil bit, and theres no bugs in Mexico that i saw anyway(less the NY) Could this be the cause of the swollen lymph node in my arm pit, but why did it switch to the other arm pit? Could it just be a cold i have, or getting back to work?
Avatar universal
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