I have had a pea sized lump in the soft part under my chin for over 4 months. 1st time went to GP and he said it was just an elarged lymph node and did blood work to give me peace of mind. This came back normal. Now I went back yesterday with no changes in symptoms but am worried since it's not going away. He felt it and said the next step would be a biopsy. He didn't really explain anything and I am so confused and now I have an apt. in 3 weeks with an ENT doctor. No idea what will happen at the appt and if they will do the biopsy at that appt or what. I am terrified! I feel like if he is reccommending a biopsy then he must believe that there is a strong possibility of cancer. My symptoms are 1. mild discomfort on the right side under my chin (so mild that I just notice it's there but doesn't bother me (except for the worry about what it is). Discomfort is not localized just generally under my chin on the right side 2. Pea size lump on same side that can only be felt if I tip my head back (btw, when I feel the lump it doesn't hurt to press on it). When the symptoms came on I didn't have a cold or any sickness at all. In fact I have been pretty healthy all winter. Obviously you can't diagnose me but do you have patients refered to you with similar symptoms? What are the steps you take? Will I get a biopsy on my first appt? (not scared about biopsy, just the results) I just feel like my doctor believes this is serious if he is heading straight for a biopsy.
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It is highly-unlikely that you will have this lump biopsied on your first visit. This is a surgical procedure that will need to be properly scheduled. Besides, the ENT may simply examine you...perhaps order an imaging study (like an MRI or CT) and leave it at that.
I don't know what your doctor thinks, but I can tell you that a biopsy is the only way to get a pathological, DEFINITIVE diagnosis. Just simply feeling a lump on a routine examination is not really an accurate way to rule out those 'bad' things, like a cancer or lymphoma. The VAST majority of time, these lumps are simply calcified or reactive lymph nodes....not cancers. Your doctor doesn't want to take chance, and neither should you. Although the possibility is remote, you really do need the ENTs input. If the ENT recommends a biopsy, you need to do it....
Let me know what the ENT has to say about it....and in the meantime, just relax (if you can).
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Thank you so much for your r esponse, it did help my anxiety a little. I had my appt yesterday with the ENT. He basically just checked me over and then felt my lymph nodes. He said there was one on the right that was bigger (pea size). He said it was most likely a benign something (I can't rember the exact term but I think it was three words). He told me my options were to wait and have it checked again by him in 2 months or have it biopsied. I chose to have it biopsied since I am tired from all this waiting and anxiety about what it is. So I guess I have to have surgery under general anesthesia. I didn't realize this was going to be such a big thing. I thought a biopsy they could just numb it, make a small incision and take it out since it was so small. I was also warned about facial nerve damage so I of course am second guessing myself. On the one hand I am risking nerve damage and also all risks associated with general anesthesia if it turns out to be nothing but on the other hand if it is something then I will be catching it months earlier than if I waited another 2 months or more. Thanks again for your earlier response.
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A biopsy is really the ONLY way to get a definitive diagnosis. Even though there are some risks involved in all surgical procedures, an excisional biopsy to remove this node, or just obtaining a specimen for pathology will not like result in any serious surgical complications. You will feel much better when this node is gone....and the node is benign.
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