Most of the people who sense enlarged lymph nodes in their body, fear that they are nothing but a sign of lymphoma! The reaction is more or less the same as chest pain. When we suffer from chest pain, we automatically end up thinking that we have heart related problems. Well, to be really frank, swollen or enlarged lymph nodes are a classic sign of lymphoma, as a matter of fact, most of the people experience no other signs and symptoms of lymphoma except for swollen lymph nodes.
So, do swollen lymph nodes always signify lymphoma? Well, the answer to this is an absolute, "NO"! Like chest pain can occur due to reasons other than heart problems, including stress or anxiety; enlarged lymph nodes can also occur without the presence of lymphoma. Did this relieve your mind a little bit? I am sure it did, but it is always advisable to get yourself checked with a trusted healthcare specialist to eliminate all the doubts that you have in mind. So, what can swollen lymph nodes signify other than lymphoma? Keep reading to know the answers.
What Do Enlarged Lymph Nodes Signify?
The human mind tends to think the worst of all the possible reasons, so I don't blame you for thinking about lymphoma. The lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells that are used to fight against infections, and are present in the lymph nodes, spleen, and the bone marrow. Lymphoma is a specific type of cancer which starts from the lymphocytes. The lymph nodes tend to increase in size when fighting against infection. So, apart from the possibility of you suffering from lymphoma, it could be a simple infection like mono that could lead to swelling in the lymph nodes.
So, are enlarged lymph nodes normal if they are not lymphoma? Well, there are conditions other than lymphoma that could be the culprit behind swollen lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are the small and round bean-shaped cluster of cells that are present in areas like neck, armpits, groin, and under your chin. They play a vital role in fighting the infections caused by various viruses and bacteria. When they swell up, the condition is known as lymphadenitis. In fact, the swelling of lymph nodes actually helps doctors in diagnosing some life-threatening conditions, including lymphoma, cancers, and other infections.
So, what may be the reason for them to swell up? Well, the most common reason for the same are infections. In fact, there are high chances that you have had a viral or bacterial infection to cause them to swell, rather than lymphoma or cancer! Some of the most common infections that cause this condition include infections resulting in common cold, ear infections, mononucleosis, strep throat, or abscessed tooth. Certain skin infections like cellulitis, or wounds on the skin can also cause the lymph nodes to swell.
If you move further to some more serious causes, then conditions like tuberculosis, measles, syphilis, and rheumatoid arthritis could be the reason behind swollen lymph nodes. In fact, it can also be an indication of leukemia and certain type of cancers. For instance, swollen lymph nodes in the neck can indicate throat or oral cancer. It can also be a sign of breast cancer. In fact, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits can also be an indication of lung cancer. On the other hand, if you have enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, this can indicate cancer in the uterine, ovaries, rectum, or anus. Certain immune diseases like HIV/AIDS, lupus, and sarcoidosis can also be the reason. So, don't confine the possibility to lymphoma only, as there are various significant reasons behind swollen lymph nodes.
Though enlarged lymph nodes aren't always a sign of lymphoma, you might have figured that you cannot afford to avoid them as well. Apart from lymphoma, there are other 'serious and life-threatening' conditions that could be the cause. So, make sure you get in touch with a healthcare specialist as soon as possible and get yourself examined. Your doctor will conduct physical examinations along with certain blood tests, imaging tests, and most importantly, a lymph node biopsy, which can diagnose the possibilities of cancer. Early detection is the key to early treatment. Have a safe and healthy tomorrow.