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A 28-year-old member asked:

If a lymph node is round with a well defined border and no fatty center is it always malignant?

3 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Leila Wing
Dr. Leila Winganswered
Internal Medicine 15 years experience
More info needed: The only way to tell if a lymph node is malignant is to biopsy it (take it out and look at it under the microscope).
Dr. Stephen Noga
Medical Oncology 35 years experience
Imaging: Usually if the doctor has a suspicion that the lymph node may be abnormal (bigger than usual, hard, several of them) they will obtain a ct of the area and then consider a biopsy. A biopsy where a piece of the lymph node or full removal of the lymph node gives the most information. Sometimes a very fine needle is put into the lymph node but that may not reveal the overall problem.
Dr. Devon Webster
Medical Oncology 23 years experience
No: What you describe sounds like an ultrasound report of a lymph node. The only way to know for sure that a lymph node is malignant is to biopsy it (take a small sample of it.).
Dr. Sean Canale
Dr. Sean Canale commented
Breast Surgery 31 years experience
Imaging can give size measurements (only ~50% correlative to malignancy) and architecture information but only sampling will confirm metastatic involvement. Ultrasound guided FNA (fine needle aspiration) is a fairly quick and simple procedure in the skilled hands of a breast surgeon.
Jan 6, 2012

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