Q. I have a swollen lymph node in the neck for the past two weeks. Could this be a cancerous node?

Answered by
Dr. Arshad Hussain Shah
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 10, 2020

Hi doctor,

I have had a swollen lymph node for over a week. It looks like it maybe two together. I have been doing research, and I am very concerned.It is hard, and the location seems to be concerning. Could this be a sign of metastatic cancer or other cancerous node? I am very concerned.



Welcome to

I can understand your concern, and I do not think there is anything to worry about. These can be lipomas or benign subcutaneous lesions. It concerns only if they are hard and fixed with a progressive increase in size and associated with significant weight loss and decreased appetite. Or any family history of malignancy.

Keep a close eye on them, measure the size, and see whether it is hard, or soft, or mobile, painful or painless. Do you have any history of fever or sweating, cough, or any other symptoms? If they are feeling hot on touch, it may be an infection. In that case, it needs antibiotics.

Currently, there is nothing to worry. Just observe for one week and send me more details after that.

Thank you doctor,

The nodes are hard but not rock hard. They feel firm, but they roll around under my fingers. They are in a spot where they are very hard to measure because I cannot see them since they are in the back.

I had flu with a slight fever a few weeks ago. I do have a cough. And the lump is not hot to touch. I am just worried because it is already a week and no real change in size. How fast would the size increase due to malignancy?



Welcome back to

I have seen the picture (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

Do not worry. They are very small and mobile subcutaneous nodules causing no pain or other symptoms. They are most likely lipomas and are common in your age group. Just observe them for a few weeks more. If they disappear or remain the same, nothing to be done.

In case they increase in size (less likely), in that case, empirical antibiotics for two weeks is the first treatment. If they do not disappear with antibiotics, they can be removed surgically, and we can know the final pathological results and diagnosis. But just examine and palpate your breasts, including your axilla and groin area for any kind of palpable nodes. If nothing is palpable, then no worries.

Probable diagnosis:

Subcutaneous neck nodules.

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