CLL Support Association
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swollen lymph nodes

Hi my bloods are pretty stable WBC 40, HG14.9, lymphs 34.3. I now have several lumps in various lymph nodes. Doc doesn't seem too concern and allowed me to go back to telephone consultation at 4 monthly intervals but has asked me to be sure to check for increased swelling. What does this mean in lay terms and how long to treatment will be needed?

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Swollen lymph nodes are a regular symptom of cll because the nodes harbour the lymphocytes. It all depends on the size? Mine were around 3cm but did not increase over this. Others may have much larger nodes.

Where are the nodes that are bothering you?

What size are they?

Don't forget these lymphocytes will be hiding in the nodes and will not have been counted in the blood count.

As far as treatment is concerned this is just one symptom that will be taken into account along with size of spleen and liver and the doubling time of white cells in the blood.

Don't worry too much about the nodes unless they are very large or painfully.

All the best



I find a 4 month telephone consultation rather odd... do you have ambulatory problems...? Who is doing regular blood work?

Node, liver, spleen palpation on a regular basis is an important aspect of following a CLL patient... from my experience.



Hi is-sul,

Lymph nodes like everything else in CLL are not uniform and come with various descriptions. There are small beebee size nodes typically found in the recessed area between the neck and clavicle that the Docs refer to as "Shotty" which I guess comes from bird-shot found in shotgun shells - I have a slightly modified spelling that I used to best describe mine. Typical also of most CLL lymphadenopathy is the relatively soft or rubbery quality of the nodes to include large ones or large clusters of nodes. These nodes are mostly without pain. When nodes begin to feel hard and are accompanied by pain it may signal a change in the progression of a patient's CLL or in rare cases a transformation to another lymphoma.

I had quite bulky nodes that were so packed together that it appeared that my nodes had nodes. Mine all were rubbery and had no associated pain. This was not completely true as each winter for three years I had painful occipital nodes appear rather quickly around the first of the year. These nodes were at the base of the skull in the rear of my head where there can be felt a normal bump just behind the ear. The pain was nausea producing and I suspected a viral activation. I self medicated with L-lysine and aspirin and both the swelling and pain subsided in roughly three days. This was before I was aware of Richter's so it is best to have hard painful nodes appraised by a CLL knowledgeable Onc.

General swelling is not as suspicious as localized swelling and size or number of swollen nodes are not as suspicious as some that have the character of hardness and pain.

Hope this is of some help,


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