If you have been diagnosed with cancer or are concerned about having a cancer diagnoses in the future, checking your lymph nodes may be of importance to you.

Many different types of cancers can spread into various lymph nodes in the body. Once cancer has spread into lymph nodes, it can be very serious.

Knowing how to check your lymph nodes for enlargement or irregularities can give you peace of mind in between doctor appointments.

What You Need to Know

If you decide to check your lymph nodes in between appointments once a month is sufficient. Normally lymph nodes should not be enlarged, and, therefore, you should not be able to feel them. However, if you have been ill or even have a bad skin blemish, they can be swollen. Always double check with your physician if you believe your lymph nodes are enlarged or swollen.

Checking The Lymph Nodes:

  • Head and Neck – Tilt your head in the direction of the side of the head or neck you are currently checking. It makes checking your lymph nodes easier as it relaxes the muscle. Use your fingertips and gentle circular motions to feel for lymph nodes under the muscle. Lymph nodes are located in front of the ear, right below the ear near the jaw line, and along the jaw line to the chin. They are also located behind the ear and down the neck below the ear. Additionally, there are lymph nodes on both sides of the neck above the collar bone. To check those lymph nodes bring your elbows forward and hunch your shoulders.
  • Armpit – Checking the axillary lymph nodes will be easiest when clothing is removed from the waste up. Stay seated to check this area. With the opposite hand, feel underneath your armpit in the middle. Then use your fingers to press firmly, checking along the front, back and inner borders of the armpit. Complete the same exam on the opposite side.
  • Groin – Groin lymph nodes are located horizontally just under the hip bone and vertically at the very top portion of the thigh. Use your fingertips and apply circular and gentle pressure to check these nodes as well. Remember to check both sides of the groin.

Get More Information – Lymphoma

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Knowing how to check your lymph nodes will empower you to be an active participant in your preventative healthcare. For many cancer patients or patients with high-risk factors for cancer, being able to check lymph nodes in between doctor appointments and tests can relieve their anxieties. If you have other questions or concerns about how to check lymph nodes contact your physician.