A member asked:

What does small, non enlarged incidental reactive lymph nodes that are noted on the neck, which are probably reactive, mean on an mri of neck? should i be scared about cancer?

8 doctors weighed in across 4 answers
Dr. Joseph Accurso answered

Specializes in Radiology

We all have lymph ..: Nodes, and radiologists see them all the time. The challenge is separating definitely benign from lymph nodes that need to be further evaluated. Although no one can be 100% sure (nothing is in medicine), the description you list in the report (non enlarged, incidental probably reactive lymph nodes) is most consistent with a benign diagnosis. Please discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Answered 3/18/2017


Dr. Kathleen Mullane answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Defense!: Lymph nodes are 1 of our primary defense modes. The lymphatic system runs along the blood vessels. It 's our internal sewage system & the nodes are way-stations along the route that process the slime for elimination. With infection, inflammatory process or worst case a cancer, the nodes react by sending in the troops (lymphocytes) to seek & destroy enemies. Common in neck (drains mouth floor).

Answered 9/13/2015



Reading radiology: Reports is not for amateurs. Why was the mr ordered? Probably not to fish for small nodes. Non-specific small nodes can run the gamut to nothing, syphillis, drug reactions, hiv...And yes lymphatic or head and neck cancer. You need a doctor that you trust to work up your symptoms and signs, and not have you submit the reports on health ta.

Answered 1/8/2018


Dr. Michael Miller answered

Specializes in Wound care

Monitoring Centers: Lymphatic system absorbs/carries things too big to go into the arteries/veins like bacteria eaten by white cells and digested food. Lymph nodes "taste" the lymph for anything bad like bacteria/viruses/cancers, etc. When it detects a problem, it alerts the immune system and your body reacts. They enlarge in response to the inflammation they create when they react. They shrink when all is well.

Answered 1/19/2014



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