Ask the Doctor
August 27, 2013

My lymph node is enlarged and I have a fever. What could be wrong?

Dear Doc,

I have been experiencing a mild fever for the past four weeks which I thought was just the humidity this time of the year, but my wife noted a “canal” (lymph node) on my neck that is not painful. Since then I have been itching and it seems as if I have lost weight. I had tests for HIV, Leptospirosis and Hepatitis, but they were negative. Is there anything else?{{more}}


Dear Ken,

I would not deny that there are possibilities of a person’s illness being psychological, but manifesting as physical illness. It will be difficult to deny the presence of a large lymph node on the neck and loss of weight can be easily assessed with a scale. There are multiple disease processes that can present with these symptoms that have to be ruled out, but the possibility of a lymphoma must be entertained.

Lymphomas are cancers that develop in the lymph node and can go undetected for long periods. These cancers are characterized by enlarged lymph nodes that are generally felt in the neck region or under the armpits. The individual can experience night sweats for extensive periods, accompanied by generalized itching of the skin. It is not unusual to experience anaemia and involvement of the liver results in tenderness.

Lymphomas can have many categories that can only be differentiated by removal of an affected node and having it assessed by a pathologist. Some are aggressive and others respond well to treatment.

Whenever lumps are noted on the body, it important that they are examined and investigated by your doctor, even if it is a lymph node that seems unusual.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.