Q. I have single lymph node enlargement. Is this due to cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Nov 12, 2015 and last reviewed on: Feb 20, 2019

Hi doctor,

I have left supraclavicular lymph node enlargement of around 1 cm in size over four months. I have body pain and occasional low back pain. I have pain in areas such as shoulder, right groin, hand under the elbow and sometimes feel difficulties in chest. Only one lymph node got enlarged. My blood work is reported four times and is normal. I had an antibiotic course twice for two weeks. In these four months, though I was in stress I gained 12 pounds of weight.

I need your opinion on the following. Do all lymph nodes seen around or in left supraclavicular areas are more prone to cancer such as lymphoma, NHL or gastric cancer? What is the probability for that? How much is the size of the lymph node to be cancerous or worry about? Do you think I have lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin lymphoma? I am having pale skin, black stool, blood in stool and stomach swelling, is this due to the stomach or gastric cancer? Why my node is not growing in size? Everybody says the node related with lymphoma and NHL is persistent and one. Is that right?

Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda

Geriatrics Hematology Pathology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Based on your queries, my opinion is as follows:

  1. Lymph nodes in supraclavicular areas are usually due to infection from surrounding areas. Possibility for cancer is if it is enlarging or very hard or if there are other cancer in the body.
  2. Usually increasing size in the absence of infection favors cancer. Lymph node size of 1 cm is too low to think and single lymph node involvement will never cause cancer.
  3. As you have lymph node enlargement for more than four months, there is a possibility of chronic lymphadenitis.
  4. Based on your clinical findings, there is no lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  5. Stomach cancer, will not occur in this age unless there is a family history. For black stool, you need a stool examination. Blood in stool is usually due to bleeding in rectum or colon. So, get a stool examination along with an ultrasound abdomen.

Node is partially fibrotic, so it is not able to go back to its original size. There is no reason for it to grow, as there is no infection or cancer. Yes, nodes are persistent and usually multiple and increasing in size. But here it is not. At your age, very low chance for cancer. If doubtful, get an FNAC or biopsy of lymph node done. It will confirm. Blood work is useless, unless it is blood cancer.

Do get back with the biopsy of the lymph node and stool examination report for further opinion. At present, no cancer based on clinical details.

Investigations to be done:

1. Lymph node biopsy.
2. Ultrasound abdomen.
3. Stool examination.

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