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Swollen armpit, collarbone lymph node & neck lymph node

Well I didn't think I would have to back here after my diagnosis in 2018 but here i am.... About a week ago I had pain in my armpit (cancer side) then I noticed swelling, major swelling, like a golf ball in my armpit and into my chest (mastectomy side). I originally thought lymphedema as I had over done it a few weeks back but today I noticed the lymph node above my collarbone is very swollen & so it the node on the side of my neck. They actually pretude & are visible. My doctor is away until Thursday and I have an appointment thevday she is back. I sm totally freaking out. Anyone have anything similar or have any advice?

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Comments

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,372

    Jo-Jo, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I'm glad it's not a long wait to see your doctor, and hopefully it will turn out to be an infection of some type that has caused swollen nodes. I have not experienced anything similar but I wanted you to know that someone read your post and wishes you the best possible outcome. Take care and let us know what you find out on Thursday.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Thank you LW

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,932

    I also had something like a systemic infection in mind, which could actually be something pretty mild but makes lymph nodes blow up. Good luck at your appointment and keep us updated.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    It definitely could be lymphedema or an infection. When I go see my medical massage specialist, she clears my lymph nodes above my clavicle and midway up into my neck as the first step. My swelling also includes my armpit, front and back chest so it is possible. Yes please update us on how things go.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Thank you ladies, I am actually going to try & get into another doctor today so I can put my mind at ease

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    So.... the doctor looked me straight in the eye and told me it looks like the cancer is back. He sent me for an ultrasound, chest x-ray & bloodwork. I am waiting for a biopsy date for the lymph node on my neck.

    I feel numb, not anxious or terrified like the first diagnosis. It's weird.

    I'm expecting the worst but hoping for the best and I am so glad the doctor was honest with what his findings were.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,372

    Oh damn. I'm sorry, JoJo, and I hope the biopsy proves him wrong!! I imagine that since this isn't your first rodeo that you know what to expect. I think most of our terror with a first diagnosis is the fear of the unknown. I hope the biopsy is soon; the waiting is always so hard. Sending hugs and good wishes your way.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Thanks LW. Hoping the biopsy is soon, the waiting is never fun.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,932

    I hope he's wrong, too. It's pretty odd for any doctor to make a declaration like that without imaging or other tests first. I'd also consider a second opinion.

  • sunshinegal
    sunshinegal Member Posts: 67

    I was thinking what Alice said. I've never had a doctor pre-emptively make such a statement. Wishing you all the best as you navigate the next few days & weeks.

  • wallycat
    wallycat Member Posts: 1,174

    How the hell can they know anything by "just looking" at you. Sorry. Rant. My radiologist was actually LOOKING at my SCANS and said it was not cancer, but it was...biopsy is the only way they will know for sure.

    Did you recently have a covid vaccine or booster? My armpit swelled up to the size of a tennis ball...1st and 3rd (I had the second shot in my thigh).

    We'll be thinking of you and hope he is wrong.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    He just examined me and said it doesn't look good, looks like the cancer is back. Then printed off the requisitions for me and told me he will get me a biopsy appointment as soon as possible. Told me to get the ultrasound & x-ray right away and not waise a minute. He is my children's doctor and he has never bullshitted me or sugar coated anything. I think when a doctor knows he knows.

    I had my 2nd covid vaccine in June last year with absolutely no side effects or swelling

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 769

    Jo-jo2018, are you seeing a doctor in the USA? Since most of the doctors in the US use caution not to say anything before the biopsy results.

    Do you have any breast reconstruction that may have gone bad? One side of my body (armpit, neck) is more swollen than the other and doctors don't know why. Has been like this since 2 years ago.

    I wish you get good news and sending you hugs.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    Sometimes it's just obvious. Everybody could tell when I first had cancer. I knew before I even went in. All the scans and the biopsy were mere formalities.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Lilly i am in Canada. Both me and my kids doctor are originally from South Africa so we have a good connection. Maybe this is why he just came out and splurged it out? Not sure.

    And no I had no reconstruction. Thank you for the hug 🤗

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    ParakeetsRule, thats what I'm thinking..... I knew the first time too

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 12,988

    When I got golf ball lump by my collar bone two years after bilateral mastectomy, both the MO and I were relatively sure it was cancer again. He wanted to schedule a CT for later that week. I said - no, let's do an ultrasound RIGHT NOW. They worked me in & then did a ULS biopsy so there was no week of waiting.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Sorry you had a recurrence Minus Two, I wish I could have immediately gone in for a biopsy.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    Jo-Jo thats tough news to hear, I hope somehow the doc is wrong and your testing shows otherwise. Another thought maybe just maybe if things are happening again your lymphatic system is doing its job and holding things to one area. ((Hugs))

  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    I had breast cancer stage 2B back in 2010. In 2019, I had a similar scenario to yours. I had been dealing with lymphedema since all the treatment in 2010 but it seemed like it was out of control in 2019 and I told my MO at my yearly appointment and said that it might just be my lymphedema but that he wanted to get a biopsy just to be sure. I am pretty sure he was suspicious of the cancer returning. The biopsy confirmed on September 2019 that it was recurrence of my original cancer and I was now stage 4. My cancer was in a lymph node and in my collarbone. Hopefully, your cancer has not returned and if it has, hopefully it has not progressed to stage 4 and I am not trying to scare you but if it has, there continues to be better medicine available to help fight stage 4 and in my situation, I was fortunate to get to No Evidence of Active Disease (NEAD) by July 2020 and pray to God that I continue to be NEAD.

  • cookie54
    cookie54 Member Posts: 608

    Jo-Jo at this point I believe you plan for the worst and hope for the best! We can all speculate all we want but we all know there is nothing like a confirmation from a tissue biopsy. As you can see in my history I had a recurrence and it started as a swollen axillary node and supraclavicular swelling on the same side as my initial cancer. Again, my cancer is not your cancer. I find it a daily challenge to keep calm and not worry about a new symptom or a new finding on my latest scan. We are all human and with our history we will always have some level of concern!

    My hope is that you get answers ASAP and all is negative! Sending hugs and prayers. We all understand your worries and are here to listen. Best wishes!

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Thank you Cookie & Cowgal for your replies.

    The doctors room just called me to say my ultrasound results are in and I need to come in later today for their first available appointment.

    Every other result I've waited for after the first diagnosis has always been on the lines of: Just to let you know your results are in and your doctor says everything is ok....

    I know its back 🥺

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 769

    Jo-jo, did your doctor get biopsy results or scans only?

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Only scans

    I have not been for a biopsy yet

  • lillyishere
    lillyishere Member Posts: 769

    Jo-Jo201, once we are diagnosed with cancer, everything weird makes doctors and us think the worst. In my case, before the breast biopsy, I was told I was in less than 2% case of having breast cancer. Biopsy showed them wrong. In a year I had a lump on the right side of the throat. Doctors thought it was cancer and biopsy proved them wrong. So, in my experience, don't borrow the worries until you hear otherwise.

    Can cancer show up as a big swell within a week? I don't know but someone else may have experience with this.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    I don't think breast cancer starts and spreads fast enough to cause noticeable symptoms in only a week. What it does do is start off small and hidden and it slowly grows and spreads unnoticed for a long time, even years. Until one day your body reaches a tipping point where suddenly you're like "uh...what is this breast pain and weird pulled in dimpled area?" or "Why have I felt short of breath all the time in the last two weeks?"

    Those were my experiences. I know the cancer was there the first time for 3-5 years because I felt it, and people said it was nothing until I started having acute and classic symptoms. Shortness of breath was the first sign it had returned for a second time, but it had almost certainly been there for at least several months, probably longer, slowly growing, unnoticed. There were a couple random things that in hindsight might have been a sign but at the time weren't a big deal or were explained by something else.

  • wallycat
    wallycat Member Posts: 1,174

    My radiologist actually looked at my scans and said the odds of it being cancer were impossibly low..my mass was not spiculated, it appeared tiny on the MRI, the ultrasound never picked it up, the mammogram never picked it up...but once the MRI "found something," they had to biopsy it. Back to ultrasound...couldn't find it even knowing where it was, so back to MRI for the needle guided biopsy. Bingo. I am extremely hopeful your doctor is wrong.

    And add to it, the clown radiologist, a lady, no less, called me, crying, telling it was cancer...Yes, over the phone.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139

    Ultrasound picked up a big mass, the one on my neck. Every mammo or Ultrasound they have never looked anywhere but my chest area. I've been scheduled for a CT scan. My oncologist has been notified so I'm expecting that call soon.

    Thank you all for you advice & support.

    I'll check in once I have results. Time for wine!

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769

    Jo-Jo2018 - sending warm thoughts your way! {Hugs}

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509

    We are all rooting for you. I am sure whatever comes, you will be able to face it and deal with it.

    Heart