Of Nodes and Biopsies

We have about 500-700 lymph nodes spread throughout our bodies. These are organs, not glands. They filter out and eliminate dead bacteria, viruses, and other sloughed off tissue from the lymphatic fluid.


The major groupings are:

  • Cervical – nodes in the neck
  • Supraclavicular – nodes along the collar bone
  • Axillary – nodes in the armpits
  • Mediastinal – nodes in the upper body
  • Mesentery – nodes in the abdomen
  • Inguinal – nodes in the groin
  • Femoral – nodes in the upper inner thigh


My earlier lymphoma manifested with mesentery tumors.




Mesentery - nodes in the abdomen
Mesentery - nodes in the abdomen




When our immune system is activated, the lymph nodes produce large numbers of lymphocytes (white blood cells), which can cause the lymph nodes to swell. Most normal nodes are about .5cm to 2cm in size depending on their location and activity.


Infections and other problems—including cancer—can cause nodes to expand, a condition known as lymphadenopathy. People with persistent localized lymphadenopathy or those who have risk factors for malignancy, should undergo a biopsy.


That’s me.


A biopsy is the removal of cells or tissues for examination. There are three main types:

  • fine-needle aspiration, in which a needle is used to extract cells.
  • incisional biopsy in which a tissue sample is surgically removed.
  • excisional biopsy, in which the entire node is surgically removed.


I’ve been fine-needle-aspirated a few times before. On Thursday the radiologist will tell me what’s in store this time.



3 thoughts on “Of Nodes and Biopsies

  1. My lympth nodes are swollen and very painful from my leukemia. My white count went down from the strong chemo, but the nodes are still large and hard. Biopsies showed leukemia, but I wonder if they will ever shrink and lessen my pain.

  2. Mike

    I am at a loss for words. I will continue to pray but I too know that wise man and will not worry. Worry really is an exercise in futility. It doesn’t change the outcome but it can get you all in a tizzy, which is not good for your nerves. By the way, I’ve been in the allied health field all my life but you’ve taught me more that I ever learned in school and all my years of work. Thank you!

    Luv ya, Linda

  3. Dear Mike,

    Thanks for the updates. Only a few days ago we were celebrating that you were in remission. Our hearts ache for you and Susan. You’re in our prayers.


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