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What would a suspicious lymph node feel like?

Forums Cutaneous Melanoma Community What would a suspicious lymph node feel like?

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      I apologize if this is a long post, I debated whether to post anything here or not but I am really anxious and I guess looking for something to hold me over until I can get answers. Background is in March of 2019 I had a stage 1 .5mm (no ulceration and 0 mitosis rate)  melanoma removed from my left side stomach, a little higher than belly button. I still regularly follow-up with my derm, first year was 3 month intervals and now 6 month intervals. I am now 16 weeks pregnant and over the past couple of weeks I have a lumpy area in my left arm pit. Additional info is that when I was at the end of my last pregnancy I had something very similar. My OB checked it out and said she felt it was likely breast tissue and was not concerned. It must have went away after giving birth and breastfeeding because I actually kind of forgot about it and have had my lymph nodes checked by my derm, primary care doctor and OB/GYN multiple times since then. On Monday I had an OB appt, but it was with a nurse midwife I have not been seen by before due to my normal OB being out of the office. I mentioned the lumpy area to her as well as my experience in prior pregnancy and my history of melanoma. She said it seemed a little higher and she could not say for sure what it was, so she ordered an ultrasound at the breast center. I am freaking out that it could be related to the melanoma. To me the best way to describe it is a lumpy area. It doesn’t really hurt and it is very movable, almost like I can grab it and move it around. Any insight would be great.
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          Sorry to hear you’re going through a scary time. First off I am not a medical professional, but it is my understanding that melanoma cells will travel down to the nearest lymph node basin. If you had a melanoma removed from your stomach, then the cancer would most likely travel down toward the groin area rather than up to the armpit area.

          But, with your history of melanoma, getting the ultra sound done was a smart move. The lump that I had in my arm pit was moveable and didn’t really hurt. It also kept increasing in size. One doctor was able to hold it in her hand. Yeah, it was about the size of a chicken egg.  The ultra sound should tell the doctors what they need to know. Lymph nodes do get larger when they’re trying to fight off an infection, but then they shrink back down again.

          I hope that whatever they find is benign.

              Hi LRS,

              I can see why you are worried especially because of your pregnancy. I hope you’ve had your ultrasound by now and maybe a needle biopsy too. I had a marble sized lump appear in my armpit, which was not the drainage area to my primary lesion. I am thanking that lump as a warning sign to what was growing elsewhere in my body. Always be body aware and have spots and lumps checked out even if you think the lumps are milk ducts. Biopsy is the only way to prove if it is melanoma or not.

              Best wishes to a positive outcome. Cindy

              When my melanoma spread to my inguinal nodes they were hard as a rock. They were very red, painful and visible on the surface. I was always worried about little lumps, but they were nothing like the real thing.
                thank you everyone for your responses.

                I have an ultrasound scheduled for 1/27. That was the soonest appointment available. I am still very nervous, the lump has not changed at all but it definitely does not feel hard like a marble or rock, more squishy and movable. It does remind me of what I had with my last pregnancy. Praying that it is something benign.

                Again, I really appreciate the insight from all who replied.

                  I wanted to post an update here just in case anyone ever finds themselves in a similar situation.

                  I had an ultrasound performed by a radiologist on 1/27. She determined that the lumpy area under my armpit was “accessory breast tissue”. She said if I wanted to be 100% sure, we could biopsy the area but that she did not see any need to especially since I am pregnant. Per standard of care, I will go in for a follow-up ultrasound in 6 months.  Overall, I think this is good news. I saw my regular OB later that same week and she also felt the area and felt it was breast tissue similar to what I had in my last pregnancy.

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