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. 1998 Oct 15;58(6):1313-20.

Lymphadenopathy: Differential Diagnosis and Evaluation

  • PMID: 9803196
Free article

Lymphadenopathy: Differential Diagnosis and Evaluation

R Ferrer. Am Fam Physician. .
Free article


Although the finding of lymphadenopathy sometimes raises fears about serious illness, it is, in patients seen in primary care settings, usually a result of benign infectious causes. Most patients can be diagnosed on the basis of a careful history and physical examination. Localized adenopathy should prompt a search for an adjacent precipitating lesion and an examination of other nodal areas to rule out generalized lymphadenopathy. In general, lymph nodes greater than 1 cm in diameter are considered to be abnormal. Supraclavicular nodes are the most worrisome for malignancy. A three- to four-week period of observation is prudent in patients with localized nodes and a benign clinical picture. Generalized adenopathy should always prompt further clinical investigation. When a node biopsy is indicated, excisional biopsy of the most abnormal node will best enable the pathologist to determine a diagnosis.

Comment in

  • Sister (Mary?) Joseph's node.
    Viera AJ, Clenney TL. Viera AJ, et al. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Jun;59(11):2984. Am Fam Physician. 1999. PMID: 10392584 No abstract available.

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