Check Yourself for Parasites and Cancer by Looking at Your Neck

Common Causes of Swollen Glands

If you discover a lump on your neck, behind your ear, or in other locations, it is likely a swollen lymph node. While chances are the swelling will be nothing more serious than a common cold, it’s important to have your doctor assess the gland to rule out more serious concerns, such as an injury, inflammation, parasites, and cancer. Some of the most common causes of swollen lymph nodes situated in the neck specifically are:

• The common cold, measles, chickenpox, mono, and other common viruses as well as more serious conditions, such as herpes and HIV
• Strep, staph, cat scratch disease, tuberculosis, and other bacterial diseases as well as [email protected] transmitted conditions, such as syphilis and chlamydia
• Histoplasmosis, coccidiomycosis, and other fungal diseases
• Toxoplasmosis and other parasitic infestations
• Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and a number of other inflammatory conditions
• Lung cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, and other cancers related to the lymphatic system

Recognize Swollen Lymph Nodes

There is no sure way to identify a lump in the neck as a swollen lymph node. However, you should regularly check your neck by using two to three fingers and applying gentle pressure along the sides, back, and base of your neck. Swellings can appear in a variety of sizes, ranging from as small as a pea to as large as a cherry.

It is important to understand that swollen glands are not always a sign of a disease. In many cases, a gland that is less than a centimeter and size may still be normal; however, if it swells, it may become double or triple the size it is normally. Additional signs that a disease or other medical concern is at play include: