Lymph nodes usually aren’t noticeable until there is a health issue that causes them to swell or become enlarged. A normal, healthy lymph node is usually .5cm to 2 cm but will grow when the immune system reacts to trauma, illness, infection, or cancer in the body. Sometimes the lymph node will feel rubbery when it is enlarged. This means when pressure is applied it will give but bounce back.

The node may or may not be painful. Though commonly the cause of a swollen lymph node is a treatable infection in the body, it could also be a symptom of cancer. Only a physician can determine if the changes in a lymph node are normal.

Areas in the Body

There are between 500 – 700 lymph nodes in an average body. Some of them are deep in the body and when they get overwhelmed with filtering debris out of the body (How to boost your immune system –, it often goes unnoticed. Some are close to the skin and are located near commonly infected areas like the nose and throat. When these nodes swell it is more noticeable and it will be easy to do a self-check to determine if the node is rubbery. Some of the types of lymph nodes that are found in the body:

The mediastinal and mesenteric lymph nodes will not be noticeable when they swell. The system and mesenteric lymph nodes become swollen when there is a problem with the digestive, like gallstones. Mediastinal nodes become swollen when there is a problem in the area of the lungs. When lymph nodes become enlarged or are rubbery, it will be time to seek the help of a medical professional.

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Medical Exams

When going to a healthcare professional for rubbery nodes, the physician will need to do a physical exam. Health history will be gathered and then the doctor will decide if there should be testing done to determine why there are changes in the lymph nodes. Though there is no way to determine the cause of rubbery lymph nodes without testing, firm but rubbery nodes can be a symptom of lymphoma.

Causes of Swelling and Enlargement

When nodes stay enlarged it is a sign the lymph system is overwhelmed with bacteria, viruses, fungus, cancer, waste, or other type of debris in the body. It can be from a simple infection or a serious condition like cancer. The way a lymph node enlarges can give a hint to the type of illness or disease that is causing it. Rock hard nodes may be from metastatic cancer and rubbery nodes may be from lymphoma.


The cause of rubbery lymph nodes will not be able to be self-diagnosed at home and a health care professional (Find a Good Provider) should be consulted.