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Lymphadenopathy and Malignancy - Article
ABSTRACT: The majority of patients presenting with peripheral lymphadenopathy have easily identifiable causes that are benign or self-limited. Among primary care patients presenting with lymphadenopathy, the prevalence of malignancy has been estimated to be as low as 1.1 percent. The critical challenge for the primary care physician is to identify which cases are secondary to malignancies or other serious conditions. Key risk factors for malignancy include older age, firm, fixed nodal character, duration of greater than two weeks, and supraclavicular location. Knowledge of these risk factors is critical to determining the management of unexplained lymphadenopathy. In addition, a complete exposure history, review of associated symptoms, and a thorough regional examination help determine whether lymphadenopathy is of benign or malignant origin. Unexplained lymphadenopathy without signs or symptoms of serious disease or malignancy can be observed for one month, after which specific testing or biopsy should be performed. While modern hematopathologic technologies have improved the diagnostic yields of fine-needle aspiration, excisional biopsy remains the initial diagnostic procedure of choice. The overall evaluation of lymphadenopathy, with a focus on findings suggestive of malignancy, as well as an approach to the patient with unexplained lymphadenopathy, will be reviewed.
ABSTRACT: Although cancer has an annual incidence of only about 150 new cases per 1 million U.S. children, it is the second leading cause of childhood deaths. Early detection and prompt therapy have the potential to reduce mortality. Leukemias, lymphomas and central nervous system tumors account for more than one half of new cancer cases in children. Early in the disease, leukemia may cause nonspecific symptoms similar to those of a viral infection. Leukemia should be suspected if persistent vague symptoms are accompanied by evidence of abnormal bleeding, bone pain, lymphadenopathy or hepatosplenomegaly. The presenting symptoms of a brain tumor may include elevated intracranial pressure, nerve abnormalities and seizures. A spinal tumor often presents with signs and symptoms of spinal cord compression. In children, lymphoma may present as one or more painless masses, often in the neck, accompanied by signs and symptoms resulting from local compression, as well as signs and symptoms of systemic disturbances, such as fever and weight loss. A neuroblastoma may arise from sympathetic nervous tissue anywhere in the body, but this tumor most often develops in the abdomen. The presentation depends on the local effects of the solid tumor and any metastases. An abdominal mass in a child may also be due to Wilms' tumor. This neoplasm may present with renal signs and symptoms, such as hypertension, hematuria and abdominal pain. A tumor of the musculoskeletal system is often first detected when trauma appears to cause pain and dysfunction out of proportion to the injury. Primary care physicians should be alert for possible presenting signs and symptoms of childhood malignancy, particularly in patients with Down syndrome or other congenital and familial conditions associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Intracranial Lesion with Fever and Headaches - Photo Quiz
ABSTRACT: Although cancer in children is rare, it is the second most common cause of childhood mortality in developed countries. It often presents with nonspecific symptoms similar to those of benign conditions, leading to delays in the diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment. Primary care physicians should have a raised index of suspicion and explore the possibility of cancer in children who have worrisome or persisting signs and symptoms. Red flag signs for leukemia or lymphoma include unexplained and protracted pallor, malaise, fever, anorexia, weight loss, lymphadenopathy, hemorrhagic diathesis, and hepatosplenomegaly. New onset or persistent morning headaches associated with vomiting, neurologic symptoms, or back pain should raise concern for tumors of the central nervous system. Palpable masses in the abdomen or soft tissues, and persistent bone pain that awakens the child are red flags for abdominal, soft tissue, and bone tumors. Leukokoria is a red flag for retinoblastoma. Endocrine symptoms such as growth arrest, diabetes insipidus, and precocious or delayed puberty may be signs of endocranial or germ cell tumors. Paraneoplastic manifestations such as opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, rheumatic symptoms, or hypertension are rare and may be related to neuroblastoma, leukemia, or Wilms tumor, respectively. Increased suspicion is also warranted for conditions associated with a higher risk of childhood cancer, including immunodeficiency syndromes and previous malignancies, as well as with certain genetic conditions and familial cancer syndromes such as Down syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, hemihypertrophy, neurofibromatosis, and retinoblastoma.