Identifying cancer of the lymph nodes is a process. A diagnosis cannot be made simply by feeling an enlarged lymph node or having a doctor identify a swollen lymph node.
In addition to the circulatory system, the body also has a lymph system. This system works in conjunction with the circulatory system to remove debris and waste from the body. Fluid located within this system is simply called lymph.
Lymph nodes are the areas in which the lymph is filtered. Some lymph nodes are deep within the body and others are more superficial. Cancer can be present in the lymph nodes either from cancer that originated in that system or that started elsewhere and travelled to the lymph nodes. Usually the cancer starts elsewhere in the body.
Diagnosis requires a series of steps that should be carefully overseen by a qualified physician. Reading this article you will learn about what lymph nodes are and how to identify lymph node cancer.
Lymph nodes can swell and become enlarged due to cancer and also other conditions like an infection or virus. If you find an enlarged lymph node or your doctor finds one, further investigation is needed. Sometimes there can be cancer cells in a lymph node that is not swollen.
- Surgery – If a cancer patient has surgery to remove cancerous tissue, the surgeon will usually remove at least one of the nearby lymph nodes. A doctor can also perform a lymph node biopsy with a needle. These nodes or biopsies will be examined under a microscope by a pathologist to determine if they are cancerous as well.
- Microscope – Under the microscope cancer cells can be identified as to where they came from, such as breast cancer cells. If they are cancerous the likelihood of cancer reoccurrence is higher.
- PET And CT Scans – Doctors also have the option of using different imaging studies and exams to help identify cancerous cells in the lymph nodes. PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computerized Tomography) scans are often used in cancer patients to help identify potential lymph node cancer deep within the body and near the original cancer sites. Imagining studies are performed frequently throughout the course of cancer treatment.
- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/swollen-lymph-nodes/DS00880/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis – Swollen lymph nodes
- http://www.thelymphnodes.com/lymphoma/how-to-know-if-you-have-lymphoma/ – How To Know If You Have Lymphoma?
- http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/lymph-nodes-and-cancer – Lymph Nodes and Cancer
If you are concerned about one or more of your lymph nodes being enlarged, painful, or feeling irregular, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Your doctor may order additional testing or surgery to help get to the bottom of what is going on. Identifying lymph node cancer should always be left up to the medical professionals.