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Thread: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

  1. #1
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    Apr 2018
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    Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    Hello. I am 24 years old, male. A few days ago, I accidentally noticed an enlarged lymph node above my collarbone. I went to my doctor, and she told me that the node is called a sentinel node and that it's really concerning because many cancers like stomach and pancreatic metastize there. My oncologist visit is on May 7, so in a week. My anxiety is through the roof now. I've read about the node and I'm pretty certain that I'll be gone within 6 months, because mets to that particular lymph node mean that the cancer is stage 4 already. I had some clear scans within the last year, particularly:
    -abdominal MRI 04.2019
    -chest ct, bronchoscopy, abdominal ultrasound 11.2019
    -upper GI scope 12.2019

    Its unlikely that a gastric cancer grew and spread within 6 months from the last scan right? And the same goes for pancreatic cancer, my pancreas were clear on an mri a year ago.

  2. #2
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    I'm sorry, how scary for you.

    I've been reading a lot about lymph nodes lately and one thing I know is that in the under 30s a swollen supraclavicular node is still more likely to be non-cancerous than cancerous. So I don't think it's a done deal. But of course you will be very scared all the same, and naturally your doctor is concerned.

    I'm just speculating here as a lay person but I'd have thought at your age metastatic stomach or pancreatic cancer would be very rare?! Especially given your clear scans - I'm not sure it's even possible for a cancer to suddenly spring up and metastasise that quickly! If we're talking cancers then I'd have thought a lymphoma would be more likely - which are VERY treatable, and usually curable if they're high-grade.

    I don't think there's anything I can say to make you feel better - maybe if I knew some anxiety management techniques, but I'm rubbish at that! I'm sure some other people have some good tips, though.

    I just didn't want to read without commenting because I know you must be really frightened. I just want to say that I'm thinking about you, and I will think about you on the 7th.

    In the meantime I hope you can find a way to relax a little - maybe play some silly online games, or watch some funny shows, or chat with your friends?

  3. #3
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    Thank you really much, that's very kind of you. I do realize that I could have a benign problem here, but still, I'm really worried. To be fair, and without offense to anyone suffering with the big C, I'm kind of hoping that it's just one of the treatable diseases like lymphoma or testicular. I'm trying to keep myself occupied, but I'm reading about the bad stuff all the time, and even when watching something with my girlfriend or playing games, my brain goes "no, you can't be happy, you have a problem, better dwell on it". It'll be a long week, but thanks for the support!

  4. #4
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    I know, I'm exactly the same. A lot of my downtime is ruined by just worrying about the worst case scenario.

    One thing I've noticed is that sometimes anxious people sort of misinterpret what their doctors say - so if a doctor mentions something ominous as a possibility, you might latch onto that and think it's as good as a diagnosis. When in reality your doctor might just be exercising due diligence. Of course, I have absolutely no idea what your doctor is really thinking, or exactly what she said, but it's just something to bear in mind.

    There's a lot of talk about enlarged supraclavicular lymph nodes, and we all know they need to be checked out, but all I can say is that in must cases for somebody your age it's benign. If it's not benign, then a treatable lymphoma would be soo much more likely than metastatic cancer.

    At any rate, good luck - both with the diagnosis and with dealing with the wait!

  5. #5
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    Ummm.. why would your doctor send you to an oncologist all of a sudden? I would think they would do bloodwork, ultrasound etc; She TOLD you it was a sentinel lymph node?

    I have two left supraclavicular nodes. I was horrified when I found them! One is as tiny as a dot and hasnít grown. The other one came up a day after I got the flu shot. It was huuuuge! About 2cm long. It was very mobile and went down to less than 1cm in a week. However I am skinny so I can still feel it. Sometimes I feel it a lot and the next day itís sore. Anyway, long story short, you can have left supraclavicular nodes come up for other reasons too. Itís not all doom n gloom. Iím surprised at the route your doc took. How big is your node? Is it stony hard? Is it mobile?

    I will be honest, sometimes I get scared about my supraclavicular nodes randomly but then I calm myself down. Going through a phase right now too where I keep checking them.

  6. #6
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    It's about 1cm long. My doctor referred me to an oncologist because she told me that she'd rather fast track this instead of wasting time. And yes, she told me it's a sentinel node. Hopefully you're right and my node is of benign origin...

    Edit: it's not stony hard, it's mobile and it's about 1cm in the longest dimension. It's elliptical, kind of like a sideways number "0"
    Last edited by Mostu; 01-05-20 at 04:39.

  7. #7
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    Elliptical and mobile are GOOD signs! Please keep us updated

  8. #8
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    Quote Originally Posted by Mostu View Post
    To be fair, and without offense to anyone suffering with the big C, I'm kind of hoping that it's just one of the treatable diseases like lymphoma or testicular.
    Do you see what you did there? You've resigned yourself to having cancer and the dragon is thrilled! The chances this is benign are far, far greater than it being sinister. Let us know how you make out.

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself! http://cbt4panic.org/

  9. #9
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    A quick update. Went to the oncologist today, he took my history and checked the lymph node. He described it as soft, small(under 1 cm) with clear borders. I told him my concerns and he's pretty certain that I don't have metastatic cancer, since metastatic nodes are hard and mine is soft, I had plenty of tests done with clear results, and I'm only 24 so it would be extremely unusual for this to be something sinister. Oh, and he's also not sure if it's supraclavicular - he told me that it's on the border of supraclavicular and posterior cervical, so that's a plus too. He then asked me if I have some symptoms like weight loss and night sweats, and I told him that indeed I had a few nights in the last months where I woke up and was drenched. He referred me to a neck ultrasound in a month and I'll see him right after that, if the ultrasound shows the node as reactive then it'll be fine, but if it shows some bad signs then we'll have to biopsy the node to check for lymphoma. So, it's either something benign or a lymphoma. I should feel relieved but I'm not.

  10. #10
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    Re: Got referred to an oncologist... Left supraclavicular lymph node

    It sounds to me like you're handling things very well and rationally.

    I'm glad to hear it's not metastatic cancer, though I'm not surprised! It didn't seem likely, based on your age and symptoms.

    I hope you'll feel ok over the next month while you wait for your scan. I recently had some nodes in my neck scanned but I was lucky and only had to wait a week. One of them actually looked abnormal, too, but the biopsy came back clear - turned out to be toxoplasmosis!

    If it is lymphoma, it sounds like it would be Hodgkin's or one of the high grade NH types. They are nearly always completely curable. It sounds like whatever it you're getting it sorted quickly, too.

    Here's hoping it's just something benign, anyway.

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