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Q. I have a few swellings in underarms. Are they related to cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Patodiya
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 04, 2016 and last reviewed on: May 20, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am a 28 year old male. For the past five years, I have few swellings on both underarms. Recently, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. While browsing on the internet, for her condition, I found out that my swelling may be of lymph nodes and may be cancerous. This urged me to get consulted. My swellings are a bit painful while touching. It at times gets sore and brings out smelly pus, which is yellow in color. I am anxious and would like to know what the best way to proceed here. Many thanks.

Dr. Bharat Patodiya

General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Oncology


Welcome to

  • I understand your anxiety. However, to assure you and also to explain the swelling related to cancer is usually painless.
  • From your history, it appears that you may be having some hair root infection, because of which lymph node could be swollen.
  • I think more on the line of infection as your swelling reduces with time.
  • However, on examination, if anything suspicious, then FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) or biopsy can be planned. I think you can visit a surgeon at this point, who can do a biopsy if indicated.
  • Just as a part of history are you on any hormonal treatment like steroid? It could also be in the custom made gym supplement available at a few of the gyms.
  • Also, at what age your mother developed cancer? If she developed at old age, then it is less likely to be genetic.

Revert back with the answers to the medical oncologist online -->

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Thank you doctor.

She was 53 when she developed cancer. No, I am not under any hormonal treatment.

Dr. Bharat Patodiya

General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Oncology


Welcome back to

  • I think the culture of the pus drain should be done and antibiotic course can be given. That should resolve it.
  • If you sweat a lot, then using an antiperspirant gel is a good option to reduce the chance of infection. Trimming local hairs should also help.

For further information consult a medical oncologist online -->

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