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"How can I tell whether I have a lump or an inflamed lymph node?"

ZocdocAnswersHow can I tell whether I have a lump or an inflamed lymph node?


I feel an inflammation on my neck near my throat. One side is bigger than the other. Is that just my lymph nodes? It doesn't hurt when I press it.


I am sorry to hear that you have inflammation on your neck. There is no way for me to tell you for sure what is going on without taking a detailed medical history and a good exam. I strongly advise you to see a primary care doctor who can examine you to determine whether it s a benign or sinister condition. If needed he/she may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT). With such limited information, I can only provide you some general thoughts on the condition and it does not replace seeing a doctor to be examined for a correct diagnosis. There are many causes of lumps in the neck. The most frequently seen lumps or swellings are enlarged lymph nodes. These can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, cancers, or other rare causes. A swollen lymph nodes are soft, rubbery, movable, and may be tender. These swollen nodes are usually in response to a bacterial or viral infection or from a recent illness. The swelling should subside within three weeks when the infection clears up. More serious infections may cause the glands to enlarge and become very firm and tender. Most of lumps prove to be innocent. However, mystery lumps or inflammation of lymph nodes when there has been no recent illness are almost always a cause for concern. Do schedule an appointment with a doctor immediately if you experience a hard, immovable lump that isn't tender or painful, a lump that persists longer than several weeks, or a growth that seems to be enlarging rapidly.

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