What do underarm lymph nodes do? Why do they swell up? And how do you know if the swelling is simply an infection – or might be cancer?
You're taking a shower, soaping up. And suddenly, underneath your arm, your fingers detect a painful, tender lump – one that wasn't there yesterday. Your mind starts to race: "Do I need to worry about this? Could it be an infected lymph node, even though I haven't felt sick? Could it be… cancer?"
What is the lymphatic system?
Your body's lymphatic system, made up of a series of small vessels, carries a clear liquid – lymph – from your body tissues to the heart. In the heart, lymph joins blood and is pumped via arteries back to the tissues. This efficient system helps drain excess liquid from tissues, and transports infection-fighting white blood cells to where they're needed.
What are lymph nodes?
Scattered along these small lymphatic vessels are up to 700 lymph nodes. These small (think...
Acute prostatitis is an infection of the prostate gland in young or middle age men. Just for review, the prostate gland is a chestnut sized glandular organ located in men at the entrance/exit of the bladder and situated so it surrounds the connection of the bladder opening and the urethra which is the tube that drains the urine to the outside through the inside of the penis. The acute infection is usually caused by bacteria such as E.Coli and Pseudomonas, which are also common infecting agents of other parts of the urinary tract such as the bladder and urethra. This acute prostatic bacterial infection usually occurs in young and middle-aged males. Symptoms include pain in the genital/bladder area, fever (which may be high), as well as burning, pain and irritation when urinating. The bacteria that causes acute prostatitis usually gains access to the prostate by infected urine in the bladder through the urethra or urine tube. The infecting organisms migrate ...
When you had your surgery, your doctor may have removed some of the lymph nodes under the arm next to the breast that developed cancer. But breast cancer can come back in:
some of the remaining underarm (axillary) lymph nodes
lymph nodes at the base of the neck (supraclavicular)
lymph nodes just bellow the collarbone (infraclavicular)
lymph nodes under the chest wall, along the breastbone (internal mammary)
lymph nodes under the armpit on your other side (rarely)
In about 40% of women who develop a recurrence, the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes . If you or your doctor notices hard, round lumps forming in any of these areas near the breast that had cancer, it could be a regional recurrence. Sometimes such enlarged lymph nodes are found in a routine mammogram.
It is uncommon to have a regional recurrence in only the lymph nodes under the arm. Fewer than 5% of women treated for breast cancer have recurrence that happens this way. Instead, the cancer generally comes back in...
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