My 12 year old has a swollen lymph node behind her ear about the size of a half a grape. she has a history of seizers, has lost a 3 lbs a month for the last 2 months, complained of leg pain, head aches, and just a couple days ago had pain in her upper left abdoman under her rib cage. no infections that i know of. we have an appoinment with the doctor but I hope I'm not jumping the gun. Im worried....any help would be appreciated. thanks ~R
Without being able to review your daughter’s entire history and examine her, it won’t be possible to give you a complete answer, but generally speaking enlarged lymph nodes in children are most often due to infections (bacterial or viral), and are much less often due to cancer.
It can be very normal to have small (~1cm) lymph nodes in children. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body and the one you describe behind the ear is a postauricular lymph node, which can commonly become inflamed with infections such as a viral upper respiratory infections, strep throat, or mono. It sounds like she is also having some generalized symptoms including muscle aches, headaches, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain. This could certainly all be explained by an infection such as mononucleosis.
More concerning lymph nodes are those that are larger than ~2.5cm and are firm, fixed, rapidly growing, in multiple areas of the body, and associated with daily fevers and weight loss.
I’m glad you have an upcoming appointment with her physician. I am sure he/she will discuss all of her symptoms, explore other possible causes of these symptoms, do a full lymph node exam, and may order some blood tests to look for an infectious cause such as Epstein-Barr Virus or Cytomegalovirus.
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