Medical Q&As

Cancerous lymph node - prognosis?

My aunt has had one cancerous node removed from the lymph area in the groin. She has been told that there is another present, which is slow growing. The doctors have opted to leave it for the present and look at it again in three months time. If treated now she has been told it will grow back yet it is also in such a position to make it very difficult to get to and remove. Can you please offer any advice?

In attempting to answer your question it is important to know the nature of the cancer. For example, is this a primary growth within the lymph node? In other words is it a cancer arising primarily within the lymph node or is it a secondary growth? A secondary growth means that the cancer has arisen elsewhere and has spread to the lymph glands. The lymph gland would have been analysed microscopically after your auntís operation and it is usually possible in such situations for the pathologist to establish if the growth is a primary or a secondary. However, if it were a secondary cancer it is also possible that the microscopic appearances were undifferentiated, which means that no identifying features are present that enables the pathologist to determine the origin of the cancer. I think you can take some comfort from the fact that the cancer is slow growing. Cancers vary in their rate of growth and spread. Slow growing cancers generally have a better prognosis but the fundamental point remains that the nature of the growth determines the treatment plan and prognosis. Perhaps your auntís GP might be able to shed some light on this problem because he or she has probably received a report from the hospital at this stage and may be able to enlighten your aunt further.