If you have had swollen lymph nodes in your neck or elsewhere for a long time, your first impression may be that you have cancer, because

What if you have swollen lymph nodes without cancer

If you have had swollen lymph nodes in your neck or elsewhere for a long time, your first impression may be that you have cancer, because

swollen lymph nodes

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If you have swollen lymph nodes in your neck or elsewhere for long periods, your first thought may be that you have cancer, because this is sometimes associated with cancer. But it's not as likely as many think.

Although swollen lymph nodes are sometimes associated with cancer, they are most often benign (not cancerous) and occur as a result of an illness or other health condition. Research shows that when they are biopsied for cancer, they rarely turn out to be malignant (cancerous).

What are lymph nodes?

Lymph nodes are oval-shaped structures found throughout the body. They contain cells of the immune system that help fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders. They are an important factor in the body's immune system. They tend to swell in response to an infection or other health condition.

We have more than 800 lymph nodes scattered throughout our body. About a third of them are in our heads and neck. When they swell, it tends to be in the neck or armpit, or groin.

How long can lymph nodes stay swollen?

  • Usually, they stay swollen for about 2 weeks or so. It is cause for concern if this persists for more than 4 weeks.
  • But even if they remain swollen for that many weeks or longer, they are rarely due to cancer.

When lymph nodes become enlarged without cancer:

Although it is not always possible to determine the main reason, your lymph nodes can become enlarged for several reasons.


  • common cold
  • throat infections
  • ear infections
  • tonsillitis
  • dental abscesses
  • glandular fever
  • cellulite

Autoimmune conditions:

  • wolf
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sarcoidosis
  • amyloidosis
  • eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis

Other less common causes:

  • red
  • measles
  • tuberculosis
  • syphilis
  • lymphoproliferative disorders: a group of diseases characterized by an overproduction of lymphocytes (immune cells)

Are swollen lymph nodes harmless if not related to cancer?

Most of the time, the swelling/swelling goes down in a few weeks. By themselves, swollen lymph nodes are not dangerous and do not lead to further complications. However, when they are a symptom of a serious underlying disease or condition, they should be treated.

Most of the causes, such as common viral infections, are not serious. The most serious underlying conditions that cause swollen lymph nodes are cancer and sepsis, an extreme immune response that can be life-threatening. Both are rare causes of swollen lymph nodes.

When to seek medical attention:

There are a few situations in which you should contact a healthcare professional for guidance, such as:

  • if your swollen lymph nodes continue to grow or have not reduced in size after 2 weeks
  • if you feel them hard to the touch and if they don't move a bit when you press on them
  • if you have a high fever for more than 3-4 days or if you have night sweats
  • if they do not coincide with an illness or exacerbation of an autoimmune condition
  • if they are swollen below or just above your collarbone

CAUTION: Seek immediate medical attention if your lymph nodes are so swollen that you have trouble swallowing properly!

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David Daniel
David Daniel

Guys, I'm David Daniel. I'm joining the Health Frantic team & my primary goal is to bring you exclusive coverage of the world of Health & Fitness.

David Daniel has over 10 years of experience in health and Fitness. She's always exploring — optimizing health through proper nutrition, physical and mental wellness, regular exercise, sweat-proof workout gear, running and self-care practices, and more —

David Daniel

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