Axillary Lymph node (underarm gland) enlargement is a common problem among Indian women.
Patient usually present with complaints of pain in the armpit and/or lumps in the underarm area.
Majority of the times these lumps are reactive in nature, that means they enlarge due to non specific causes like mild hair follicle infection, which can occur after shaving or waxing of hair.
On the other hand, these glands can also become enlarged due to:
- Infections like tuberculosis, which can be associated with weight loss & fever
- Cancers – commonest cancer which gives rise to underarm nodes is breast cancer. Axillary lymph nodes are the first point of spread from breast cancer.
An ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis of axillary lymph node enlargement and if these glands do not resolve after a course of antibiotics, they require a FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology or in simple terms a ‘needle test’).
If FNAC is inconclusive, then an axillary lymph node biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis. Axillary lymph node biopsy is a minor procedure, which can be performed as a day care surgery.
If you or anyone whom you know has underarm pain or lumps, it is best to get yourself examined by a surgeon.
Information provided by:
Breast Cancer Surgeon
W Pratiksha Hospital