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Several Painful / Swollen Lymph Nodes + Painful Breast Lump

Hi. I am a 43 year old woman with very few health problems up till now.  I have had 3 children and breast fed all three.  The last time I breast fed my daughter was about 1 1/2 years ago.  

About 2 months ago, I noticed a number of swollen lymph nodes that became increasingly painful.  These lymph nodes were located on the left side of my body only - my armpit, partway down my arm towards my elbow, the collarbone area, and right under the areola of my breast.  I believe that some of the lymph nodes in my groin might also be enlarged as well.  After a couple of weeks, they didnt go away, so I went to my doctor.  She found another enlarged lymph node on the right side.  She did some blood work and kept asking me if I injured my left side somehow.  I hadn't or at least didn't remember any injury.  The only thing I could think of was that I carry my (heavy) toddler on my left side and I do struggle lifting her.  Beyond that, I couldnt think of anything else.  The blood work all came back within the normal range...but meanwhile, as the weeks passed, the pain of the lymph nodes would seem to flare up and then subside a bit only to flare up again.  During the time (the last 2 months), I was feel extremely tired and seemed to catch a new cold every week practically.  I knew my immune system was run down but I put that down to some personal stress I was going through.  A few days ago, I had "sinus cold-like" symptoms, followed by flu like symptoms (which I still have) - sweats/fevers, chills - on again, off again.   Last week, I went back to the doctors and she is now referring me to a surgeon.  She hasn't ordered any more tests and I wont likely get in to see the surgeon for at least a few weeks.

Today however, the pain in my lymph nodes was almost getting too much to take.  On top of this, I discovered today that the lump behind my areola had increased to the size of a ping-pong ball and was very painful as well.  I was feeling my absolute worst when I discovered the much larger lump in my breast.  As far as i know, there isn't any family history of breast cancer and the only cancer I know of was my father, who battled benign brain tumors (at first) which were operated on twice and on the third time, the tumors had become cancerous.  This enlarged breast lump has me worried, it seemed to get bigger very quickly.  The pain is also very uncomfortable.  I'm not sure if it is okay to use heat / cold on the enlarged lymph nodes to try and find comfort.  I have heard that it is not necessarily a good thing to "stimulate" lymph fluids but perhaps that is only an old wife's tale.  My doctor isnt telling me very much and says that she doubts that its anything serious but when you have several painful lumps including a large one in your breast - its hard not to worry or be scared.

I would appreciate any advice you could give.  Are they any tests in particular I should be asking my doctor for?  Is waiting a few weeks to see a surgeon wise when the pain is so bad?  To me, it seems like it might be.

Thanks in advance.

Scared D. Cat

PS - Dumb questions time:  I have been under an very large amount of stress the last two years.  Can stress load affect lymph nodes?
8 Responses
Avatar universal
Yes, stress can influnce your immune system and indirectly your lymphatic system. I would stop worrying and get to a doctor if it were me. It sounds like your sitting on this in hopes it goes away, and it might,, but most likely you have some kind of infection like cat scatch fever which causes swelling of the lymph nodes throughout the body. But its better to KNOW that just worry right? :0)

Avatar universal

Please talk to your physician about CFIDS.
Avatar universal
Please ask your doctor to rule out Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
Avatar universal
Maybe get a second opinion. This does not sound normal to me and the more you worry the sicker you'll be. It could be nothing but a minor infection. It doesn't sound like cancer if allyour blood tests are normal range, it may go away on its own but better to get tested and maybe biopsied. I had large and painful lumps in my body and it was caffiene, so I cut it out and they all shrunk and went away. OUr body handles things that way, it stores it away form our organs in our cleansing system so it cna't do damamge. Try not drinking any caffiene and see if that helps, but still see the doctor.
Avatar universal
By the way the biggest lump was in my breast and about the size of a walnut and getting bigger, until I cut out coke and coffee and then it started going down until all were gone.
Avatar universal
Hi. I noticed you posted in March but I was curious as to what they found out. I am having the same problems as you only it is my right side. I have has several tests...Gallium scan and bone scan however, no one has biopsied any of my swollen nodes. I have not infection not even cat scrach fever. I am doing the same as you were with the hot compresses to manage the pain. I hope all went well but would like to know what they found for you.
Avatar universal
Hi! I'm a 32 year old woman, mother of 3.  I've had numerous female surgeries that lead to a Trans Vaginal Hysterectomy three years ago.  Two months ago, I found a small lump about pea-size behind my left nipple in the areola area. It continues growing and is about marble-size now.  Other than the size change, it does not bother me and really isn't painful.  Aside from changes in lump size, I've been experiencing consecutive and severe headaches and neck pain, as well as feeling tired all the time. Any idea as to what may be the cause of the continously growing lump as well as the headaches and other symptoms?
Avatar universal
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