Lymph Nodes More Than an Announcer for the Big Game

The lymph nodes are known for being the announcer for serious diseases like cancer and life threatening infections like Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) by becoming enlarged while fighting the disease, illness, or infection.

Being an announcer for the body is not the only duty that is part of the responsibility for lymph nodes. Other responsibilities include providing security and maintenance services for the body, which they fulfill by filtering lymph and destroying pathogens. There are hundreds of lymph nodes located throughout the body that work as a team to filter, fight, and destroy debris in the body. All nodes have assigned regions in which they will work. Nodes get overwhelmed fighting serious illnesses and diseases and sometimes the pathogens may cross over the regional boundaries.

When this happens it allows the spread of cancer, viruses, and bacteria. Responding to nodes when they announce that there is a problem will allow for early diagnosis and prompt treatment, which increases the success of treatment, especially in the case of serious and life frightening health issues.

Maintenance Performed by Lymph Nodes

Lymph circulates through the body without any organ to pump it. Motion, gravity, and pressure keep the fluid moving quietly throughout the body. Some people suffer from inflammation when the body cannot effectively move the lymph. When nodes are removed or damaged, it can affect the flow, which causes swelling. Once things are functioning properly the lymph nodes help maintain the lymphatic system. These are some of the maintenance tasks that are performed by the nodes:

  • Fuel the cells by bringing nourishment to them
  • Cleans debris from cells when the lymph flows into the nodes
  • Does pest control by destroying toxins with specialized white blood cells
  • Helps deliver clean lymph back to the body
  • Produces an exceptional team of antibodies by using B cells

While the lymph nodes perform its maintenance duties, it slows down the lymph so that security can make sure anything harmful stays put and doesn’t go into areas it doesn’t belong.

Learn About – Lymph Node Locations

The Lymph Node Security System

The security system of trapping and holding pathogens gives a person time to get treatment. The lymph nodes do this by filtering lymph and preventing anything that can harm the body from being able to get through. While the pathogen is in the lymph node, white blood cells are produced to destroy the cancer cells, viruses, and bacteria. Each lymph node in the lymph system is responsible for keeping pathogens from leaving an assigned area. These are some of the lymph node regions as described in the SEER Training Modules Icon: External Link:

  • Waldeyer’s Ring
  • Tonsils and adenoids
  • Neck
  • Clavicular (supra and infra)
  • Axillary, pectoral
  • Mediastinal
  • Hilar
  • Epitrochlear, brachial

Each of these regions has their security group. Sometimes when there is not a prompt diagnosis of the disease the lymph node security fails and the virus, bacteria, or cancer cells cannot be held in place, and they are transported in the lymph to other areas of they body. This can cause the pathogen to spread to other parts of the body, which happens when the nodes announcement of a health issue is ignored. They announce there is a problem by becoming enlarged, swollen, and sometimes tender.

Sentinel Nodes Second Line of Security

The second line of security is the sentinel node, which is the first to become infected with cancer cells. If a biopsy shows, there is no cancer in the sentinel node further nodes will not be removed. Avoiding complications and severe illness, a person should pay attention to lymph node that swell and recognize the signs that a medical professional should do an exam.

Understand – Lymph Node Infections

Announcer of Medical Problems

All illnesses have symptoms and many diseases share similar symptoms, which can make it easy for a disease or infection to be misdiagnosed. Swollen, enlarged, and tender lymph nodes are a common symptom of many health issues. Cancer is about as big of a game as there is among diseases and illnesses that can affect a person. Swollen lymph nodes will announce cancer presence and by the location of the enlarged node it will also announce the area that the cancer is residing and is essential in staging cancer. This is the reason that many people are scared when an enlarged lymph node is first noticed. The truth is, there are other illnesses that have this symptom, and many of them are minor health problems.

The illness or disease can be a common ailment like a cold or it can be something more serious like an MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection. A swollen lymph node can be a symptom of the following health issues:

  • Mononucleosis – contagious viral infection that causes fatigue, tiredness, and the spleen to swell
  • Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph nodes, includes Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s disease
  • Viral infections – infections caused by viruses
  • HIV/AIDS – an autoimmune disease
  • Bacterial infections – infections caused by bacteria
  • Lupus – an inflammatory disease
  • Fungus infection – infections caused by fungus
  • Chicken Pox – a viral infection that causes a rash

Most swollen lymph nodes will only swell temporarily, and when an infection or illness has passed they will return to their original size. Some enlarged lymph nodes will not return to normal within a couple weeks and will be accompanied by other symptoms; a physician should examine these nodes.


Lymph nodes aren’t announcing anything dangerous when they swell, it is just evidence of maintenance and security tasks are being completed, but when there are signs and symptoms of cancer or other diseases it is important to pay attention to these little beans shaped guys.