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Is it possible to further irritate an enlarged lymph node by poking and prodding?

Amw311

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I’ve been in a pretty bad place with health anxiety due to a swollen lymph node under my arm; which my doctor said was most likely due to a breast infection I got 3 weeks ago from breastfeeding. But of course I’m convinced it’s cancer. Anything online about swollen armpit nodes is cancer.

I’ve been *impatiently* waiting for it to go away but it hasn’t. But full disclosure, I simply cannot force myself to stop messing with it.

could I be irritating it further and stopping it from going down?? Or am I doomed? I’ll be over here assuming the latter :(
 

bin_tenn

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Yes, you can fully expect the lymph node(s) to remain somewhat enlarged if you continue touch/poking/prodding at it. Lymph nodes work around the clock, all day, every day, with no breaks. Infection, acne, cuts, scrapes, bruises, bumps - all of these things are potential causes of swollen lymph nodes. Swelling is generally a good sign, in the sense that it means the nodes are doing their job. If they didn't swell for any reason, you may want to be concerned.

Swelling in lymph nodes due to malignancy is most often present alongside other more telling symptoms. Also, cancerous lymph nodes tend to be rock hard, fixed in place and rapidly growing.

You're fine. Trust your doctor, and stop messing with it.
 

Amw311

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Yes, you can fully expect the lymph node(s) to remain somewhat enlarged if you continue touch/poking/prodding at it. Lymph nodes work around the clock, all day, every day, with no breaks. Infection, acne, cuts, scrapes, bruises, bumps - all of these things are potential causes of swollen lymph nodes. Swelling is generally a good sign, in the sense that it means the nodes are doing their job. If they didn't swell for any reason, you may want to be concerned.

Swelling in lymph nodes due to malignancy is most often present alongside other more telling symptoms. Also, cancerous lymph nodes tend to be rock hard, fixed in place and rapidly growing.

You're fine. Trust your doctor, and stop messing with it.
I’ve been a little better about not touching and messing with it as much. But now I’m confused because I do feel it still and it feels the same size but you have to dig to find it. For example, I have tried to get my husband to feel it probably 10 different times and he can’t. My arm has to be positioned very specifically and you’ve got to search around to feel it. The appointment where my doctor said it’s likely reacting to the breast infection I had, was a virtual appointment so of course in my mind it wasn’t legitimate because she wasn’t able to touch it. But now I’m thinking, if it’s hard to find for others and certainly not visible to the eye...would she be able to? My husband was saying if he can’t find it after trying so many times then it’s probably nothing serious. But of course my mind says otherwise.
 

Iugrad91

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If you have to dig for it then it is nothing serious. If it were inflamed it would be quite obvious. You do need to stop looking for it. Allow yourself a certain number of checks a day and then decrease that over the course of a week to 0 if you can’t stop all at once. It is like picking a scab, it won’t heal if you don’t leave it alone.
 

bin_tenn

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I’ve been a little better about not touching and messing with it as much. But now I’m confused because I do feel it still and it feels the same size but you have to dig to find it. For example, I have tried to get my husband to feel it probably 10 different times and he can’t. My arm has to be positioned very specifically and you’ve got to search around to feel it. The appointment where my doctor said it’s likely reacting to the breast infection I had, was a virtual appointment so of course in my mind it wasn’t legitimate because she wasn’t able to touch it. But now I’m thinking, if it’s hard to find for others and certainly not visible to the eye...would she be able to? My husband was saying if he can’t find it after trying so many times then it’s probably nothing serious. But of course my mind says otherwise.
Iugrad is exactly right, that's what I was going to say: if you have to dig for it, it's a non-issue. Practically anyone can find lymph nodes of they try hard enough. When you can *see* a swollen lymph node, that's when you *might* consider feeling concerned, but even that is often due to routine infection and not malignancy. I had a bad cold once, and a lymph node in my neck was visibly swollen.
 
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