People who don’t know much about lymph nodes circulate the myths but you don’t have to be one of those people…
become knowledgeable, we know you want to. The first four busted myths and the back story on lymph nodes can be found at 4 Lymph Node Myths Busted, if you haven’t read it yet, you might want to before you continue on this one.
We thought those four weren’t enough so here are 6 more myths that are busted by the truth.
MYTH #5 – BIOPSIES CAN BE DONE WITHOUT REMOVING THE NODE
The only way to do a biopsy of a lymph node is to remove the node, which is known as a lymphadenectomy
. This is why it is only done when absolutely necessary. Determining if there is lymph node involvement is needed to stage cancer and develop an effective treatment plan. Missing a node along the lymph highway can cause build up of fluid and other health issues.
MYTH #6 – LYMPH NODES ARE NOT GLANDS
Each lymph node is a tiny independent gland, an organ that synthesizes substances to be released elsewhere in the body. The tiny nodes have a powerful role in the immune system. There are even some recent studies that are in the early testing phases that show that they may even be able to house mini functioning livers.
MYTH #7 – A PHYSICIAN SHOULD EXAMINE ALL SWOLLEN LYMPH NODES
The nodes are constantly filtering lymph fluid so it is expected that they will change in size with the varying amount of debris and foreign objects that are present. There are some signs that the nodes should be checked, but generally lymph nodes that return to their normal size within two weeks or so are fine.
MYTH #8 – PUS CAN BE SQUEEZED OUT OF A LYMPH NODE
It is not like a pimple or cyst that can be “popped” a lymph node swells up as the debris builds up and blood cells that can destroy viruses and bacteria are produced in the lymph nodes
. The lymph will return to the blood stream where it will be detoxified and return to the lymph system. When the infection or disease is gone the node will return to normal size.
MYTH #9 – A PUMP PUSHES THE LYMPH THROUGH THE BODY
The lymph fluid moves through the nodes using gravity and one-way valves that open when there is enough pressure. Since the fluid can’t go backwards it will build up until it opens the next valve and the fluid keeps repeating this as it moves through the body. There is no pump that pushes the it through the body.
MYTH #10 – ONCE CANCER IS IN THE LYMPH NODES IT IS HOPELESS
Cancer can travel to the lymph nodes or originate in them and both are treatable. The survival rate may be less when cancer spreads but it doesn’t mean it can’t be treated. With modern day medical advances, treatments are more effective and survival rates are generally high. Removal of lymph nodes can often stop the cancer from progressing and improve the prognosis.
There are always myths that surround health issues that are not common. Lymph nodes don’t get much attention unless they are announcing there is cancer present in the body and then everyone is talking about them. These quiet and diligent workers are entitled to having myths about them busted!