Swollen Lymph Nodes Under The Armpits

What Causes Lump Under Armpit?

Lump under armpit can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'very minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose lump under armpit, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "lump under armpit" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Sarcoidosis
  • CLL Leukemia
  • Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
  • Lymphatic Congestion
  • Vasectomy Side-Effects

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
having had many sexual partners
occasional confusion/disorientation
chronic fatigue in family members
major fatigue for 3-12 months
brittle fingernails
frequent stools
poor recovery from exertion
irritated eyes
one to five tender points
temple-based headaches
strong-smelling urine
Latin / Hispanic ethnicity
... and more than 100 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of lump under armpit:
Cause Probability Status
Enlarged Lymph Nodes 97% Confirm
Sarcoidosis 27% Unlikely
CLL Leukemia 21% Unlikely
Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia 3% Ruled out
Vasectomy Side-Effects 1% Ruled out
Lymphatic Congestion 1% Ruled out
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 0% Ruled out
HIV/AIDS 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate recent swollen/painful lymph nodes, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
UNDER ARMPITS: Do you have any swollen lymph nodes here?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Often, but not right now
→ 1-2 lymph nodes swollen
→ 3 or more nodes swollen
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no axillary node swelling, frequent swollen axillary nodes, swollen axillary nodes or multiple swollen axillary nodes, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Breast Cancer

A breast self-examination should always include the armpit because breast cancer can enlarge the armpit lymph nodes even when the breast itself seems perfectly normal.

Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome

The lymph nodes that are associated with CFS are small, moveable, not tender and most commonly involve the neck, axillary region or inguinal region.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

Enlarged Lymph Nodes also suggests the following possibilities:

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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