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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Medical Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5661
Experience:  20 Years in Internal Medicine, Neurology and Sports Medicine
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I have had enlarged lymph nodes in the neck area since I was

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I have had enlarged lymph nodes in the neck area since I was a teen as a result of sinusitis, they have been enlarged since then and I did not notice them very much but recently I feel them a little bit more or maybe I am too anxious and I touch them frequently to check whether they are painful or something, I have been smoking for the last 5 years on and off, recently I have cut it down to almost nothing except for an occasional cigarrette, I am a little worried about this as I think they might have got larger because of smoking, I am a very nervous person about health issues and I always imagine the worse condition imaginable, do you think I need to get them checked?

Hi Amin. How large is the largest node? Can you estimate the size for me?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Doctor, they are two of them, one in left side and the other on the right side of my neck, they are equally sized about 2 cm>

There are chains of lymph nodes along both sides of the neck. They are like sentinels that look for infection or abnormal substances in the lypmhatic fluid that runs through them. When they detect something they enlarge and become inflammed (and sometimes tender), only to shrink up again after the threat has passed. In some cases, they scar down, in a sense, and stay enlarged. This may be what happened to you. That said, when a lymph node is larger than 1-1.5 cm and stays enlarged, it is typicaly biopsied to make sure it is just scar tissue and not something else, such as an indolent infection or a blood cell dyscrasia. So while the risk is very low, given its stability, you should have it checked by your GP and possibly biopsied as well.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry doctor, Does smoking in any way affect lymph nodes in this area?

Smoking can affect lymph nodes if it leads to an infection in the throat (pharyngitis) or the bronchial tree (bronchitis). Other than that, we generally don't worry about cancer in smokers until they are over 40.

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