Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Could Painless Glands in the Abdomen Indicate Cancer?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010 10:34 AM

Question: My daughter has non-painful glands in her abdomen with digestive problems and bloating on and off. Could she have cancer?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Malignancy of bowel and intra-abdominal contents is easily detected with very simple, painless studies such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasound, and CAT scans. Anyone fearful of this deserves immediate evaluation. Remember that infection, inflammation, and tumors will often provide early symptoms, and are the reason periodic health exams by physician are recommended as a part of routine preventive care.

There are many premalignant conditions that are easily detected by routine surveillance, especially in high-risk groups, or in those with a family history of malignancy. Remember that malignant disease does occur in younger (teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s) as well as older (50-plus) patients, so do not let a young age deter a full investigation.

I'm not sure what you mean by non-painful glands—non-painful lumps of the abdominal wall or lymph nodes in the groin area? Regardless, this deserves examination by a medical doctor. Bloating is often related to diet as well as mechanical, obstructive, inflammatory, or functional problems in the upper digestive tract, especially the stomach, esophagus, and gallbladder. Gastrointestinal malignancy may masquerade as minor changes in bowel habits or intermittent rectal bleeding or indigestion that may be easily initially overlooked. Your daughter needs a physician consultation to evaluate her complaints.

© HealthDay

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