Swollen Lymph Nodes Under The Armpits

What Causes Lump Under Armpit?

Lump under armpit can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' 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):
  • CLL Leukemia
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
  • Vasectomy Side-Effects
  • Lymphatic Congestion
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia
  • Breast Cancer

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:
frequent 'chills'
history of non-vaginal candidiasis
poor recovery from exertion
early puberty onset
multiple painful axillary nodes
prostatitis
dizziness when standing up
history of sinusitis
short-term memory failure
very frequent stools
eleven or more tender points
severe non-specific arm pain
... 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
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 91% Confirm
CLL Leukemia 29% Unlikely
Vasectomy Side-Effects 14% Unlikely
Enlarged Lymph Nodes 2% Ruled out
Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia 2% Ruled out
Breast Cancer 2% Ruled out
HIV/AIDS 1% Ruled out
Lymphatic Congestion 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.

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