submandibular lymph nodes

What are Submandibular Lymph Nodes?

Submandibular lymph nodes are small nodules located at the base of your throat, behind your tongue. They may be white or yellowish in color. These lymph nodes drain into the sinuses. If they become enlarged, it means that there is something wrong with them and you need to see a doctor immediately. You will get better if you keep these lymph nodes under control and do not let them grow too large.

The main function of the submandibular lymph nodes is to drain excess fluid from your body. When they enlarge, it means that there is some sort of problem with them.

Your doctor will examine them carefully and make sure that everything is okay before making any diagnosis. Sometimes when the lymph nodes become enlarged, it indicates a tumor or cancer in your neck area. In such cases, surgery may be needed to remove the tumor or lymph node.

How Do Submandibular Lymph Nodules Grow?

There are several possible reasons why the submandibular lymph nodes grow larger:

1) The growth of the submandibular lymph nodes is due to overgrowth of cells called microcarcinoma.

Microcarcinomas are abnormal types of cancer cells that have spread throughout your body. They usually form in organs like your lungs, liver, stomach, brain or bones.

When they spread to your lymph nodes, the submandibular lymph nodes begin to grow.

2) The second possibility is that the cancer has started to spread from other parts of your body into your submandibular lymph nodes.

This is a more common cause of the disease.

3) Certain viruses may be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact.

These viruses are extremely dangerous and can cause changes in your DNA code, which lead to cancer.

4) Alcohol and smoke are the most common causes of enlarged submandibular lymph nodes.

People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol on a regular basis and those who smoke cigarettes are at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer in their submandibular lymph nodes.

5) The human papilloma virus is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause submandibular lymph nodes to grow excessively large.

If left untreated, it can lead to cancer.

6) Certain types of medication, such as hormones and birth control pills may cause submandibular lymph nodes to grow excessively large.

7) A diet that is high in fat content can lead to the development of submandibular lymph nodes.

People who consume high-fat foods on a regular basis have a greater risk of developing cancerous tumors or other growths in their submandibular lymph nodes.

Treating Submandibular Lymph Nodes

If your doctor notices that your submandibular lymph nodes have grown excessively large, he may recommend surgery to remove them. This will prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of your body.

After the operation, you may consume a healthy diet and refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. This should help avoid the spread of cancer from other parts of your body into your submandibular lymph nodes.

It is important that you perform regular self-examinations to check for lumps, bumps or anything else that seems unusual. If you discover something odd, make an appointment to see your doctor immediately.

Do not ignore the problem and assume everything will be fine. When it comes to cancer, the longer you wait, the less likely it is that the disease can be treated successfully.

Remember, early detection is always better. If you find something unusual about your submandibular lymph nodes, contact a doctor immediately.

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Cancer.Net’s Guide To Cancer Terms

Adjuvant therapy – A treatment used in addition to the primary one used to fight a disease or condition. For example, chemotherapy is often used in addition to surgery when removing a cancer tumor.

Alkaline phosphatase – A liver enzyme that may be elevated with some types of cancer.

Allogeneic – Cells, tissues or organs transplanted from a genetically different individual of the same species. This is in contrast to autologous transplants, where the patient’s own cells, tissues or organs are transplanted back into the patient.

Anaplastic – A term used to describe a tumor that has an undifferentiated appearance and grows rapidly. An anaplastic tumor may also be referred to as an “undifferentiated carcinoma.”

Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) – The blocking of the effects of male hormones, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), in patients with testicular cancer and certain types of prostate cancer.

Antiangiogenesis – The process of blocking the growth of new blood vessels. Certain therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, as well as chemotherapy drugs, may work by targeting and inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

Antibodies – Proteins in the blood produced by the immune system in response to substances such as bacteria and viruses that invade the body. Antibodies can also be produced in response to certain types of cancer cells, and can then be used as part of a treatment.

Antigen – A substance that can cause the body to create antibodies to it; for example, a virus or bacteria.

Autologous transplant – A patient’s own cells, tissues or organs are transplanted back into the same patient.

Benign – (Of a tumor or other growth) Not cancerous. Benign tumors are not capable of spreading to other parts of the body, invade nearby tissues or organs, or cause death.

They may, however, grow and compress surrounding tissue.

Biomarker – A measurable substance whose presence indicates that a particular disease or condition is present.

Biopsy – The removal of cells, tissues or fluid from the body for examination under a microscope. A pathologist then examines these cells to determine whether cancer is present.

A biopsy is typically the first step in diagnosing many conditions, including cancer.

Bone Marrow Transplant – A procedure in which healthy bone marrow is transferred from a donor into a patient whose bone marrow has been damaged or destroyed by disease or treatment.

Carcinogen – A substance that causes cancer.

Chemotherapy – Treatment with one or more anti-cancer drugs, which may be given orally or intravenously (into a vein).

Chromosomal Alterations – Changes in the structure of chromosomes, the structures that carry genes in the nucleus of cells. Such changes can cause cells to behave abnormally.

Cisplatin – A drug that interferes with the growth and survival of cancer cells.

Clonality – The ability of a cancer or a tumor to reproduce, or clone, itself. Some types of cancer, such as leukemia and tumors composed of only one type of cell, are known as clonal cancers or tumors because they spread by cloning themselves.

Cloning – The process of creating an exact copy of something, especially a cell or organism.

Colony-Stimulating Factors – Substances given to patients that help the growth and development of certain cells, such as blood cells.

Computed Tomography (CT) – A method of creating a detailed image of the inside of a patient’s body and allowing the viewer to look through the patient’s skin and bone. It uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology.

CT scans are used to diagnose or determine the extent of a cancer and to help plan treatment.

CT Scans – See computed tomography.

Cytokines – Proteins made by cells of the immune system that help regulate the activity of the immune system. Some cytokines can also affect other cell types as well.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) – The substance in each cell that contains genes, the instructions for how an organism develops and lives.

Donor – A person who gives cells, tissues or an organ to another person.

Donor Screening – The process of determining whether a potential donor is eligible to donate. For example, in the case of a blood transfusion, donor screening involves asking the donor questions about his health and past experiences and testing his blood for various markers such as diseases and other conditions.

Embolism – The obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot or foreign material.

Endoscopy – Examination of an organ or body part with an endoscope, a thin device inserted through a small incision in the skin. An endoscope is a combination of a small video camera and light-source, which transmits images to a monitor, and a small tool that can remove tissue or inject fluid into a specific place.

Enucleation – The surgical removal of an organ such as the eye.

Enzymes – Proteins that can speed up or initiate a specific chemical reaction.

Erythropoietin – A hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells.

Fetal Cells – Cells from a fetus, especially when present in abnormally high numbers in a mother’s bloodstream. When a woman becomes pregnant, some of the baby’s cells can enter the mother’s bloodstream.

In some cases, these fetal cells can form tumors (fetus in fetu). Fetal cells are distinguished from fetal cells that appear as a result of a metastasis, in which case they are referred to as metastatic tumor cells.

Fibroadenoma – A type of noncancerous tumor that usually develops in the fibers of the stroma (the connective tissue of the mammary gland) during puberty and young adulthood.

Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (FISH) – A method of detecting and monitoring specific genes or chromosomes in cells.

Gene Mutation – A change in the genetic material (DNA) of a cell. Gene mutations can be corrected by natural mechanisms (mainly by correction enzymes), which maintain the stability of the genome, or can be inherited from parent to offspring.

They can also arise during a person’s lifetime, through errors in DNA synthesis.

Genotype – The genetic constitution of an organism. For example, if there is a family history of cancer, a person’s genotype may or may not result in a phenotype, that is, cancer.

Genus – A category used in taxonomy, which ranks above a species and below a family.

Globulins – One of the classes of proteins, which can be dissolved in water and are formed by amino acid chains.

Granulocytes – A type of white blood cell that is able to move directly to a site of inflammation through blood vessels and assist in fighting infection. Another group of white blood cells (lymphocytes) help fight infection in the lymphatic system.

Granuloma – Abnormal collection of granulocytes in tissue.

Haplotype – A group of genes located close to each other on a chromosome.

Haplogroup – A group of similar haplotypes.

Helper T-cells – A type of lymphocyte that helps fight infection; they are involved in the activation and regulation of the immune system. Their function is to secrete proteins (called cytokines) that regulate or activate the immune response.

Heterozygous – The condition that exists when an individual inherits different forms of a particular gene, for example, the ABO gene.

Homologous Chromosomes – Chromosomes that are inherited equally from each parent.

Immunosuppressive – Alteration in the immune system’s ability to fight disease and infection.

In Situ Hybridization – A test used to detect and identify specific DNA or RNA sequences in cells.

In Vitro Fertilization – A procedure in which an egg is removed from a woman, fertilized with a man’s (or donor’s) fertilization and then implanted in the woman.

Ionomycin – A compound that can activate the movement of calcium ions into the cell.

Langerhans Cells – Dendritic cells that are part of the immune system. Their function is to capture and present antigens to other parts of the immune system.

Laparoscopy – A minor surgical procedure in which the abdomen is visualized with a scope. The procedure may involve the insertion of a needle into the ovary to remove an egg (as in in vitro fertilization) or a very small incision to insert a tube (as in a tubal ligation).

Laparotomy – A surgical incision through the abdomen.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) – A hormone, secreted by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the ovary to mature an egg cell (ovulate).

Lymphocytes – Small white blood cells that are part of the body’s immune system. T-cells and B-cells are two types of lymphocytes.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – A diagnostic procedure that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make a picture of areas inside the body. Maschopry – A surgical instrument used to cut or remove tissue.

Metabolic Syndrome – A condition in which an individual has several of the following factors: increased blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. This syndrome is also called Syndrome X.

Metastasis – The spread of cancer from one organ to another.

Metatarsal – The bone in the foot that runs between the toes and connects to the bones of the toes.

Microgram – One millionth of a gram.

Microsurgery – The surgery of small structures using a microscope.

Mitochondria – Organelles that produce energy for the cell.

Monosomy – The condition when an individual has only one copy of a specific chromosome, rather than the usual two.

Morphine – A narcotic drug used to relieve pain.

MRI – See Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Muscular Dystrophy – A group of inherited diseases that cause progressive weakness and degeneration of the muscles.

Myoblast – Muscle precursor cells; cells that can develop into muscle fibers.

Myocytes – Muscle cells.

Myoglobin – A protein that binds and transports oxygen in muscle.

Necrosis – Cell death.

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) – A protein that promotes the growth of nerves.

Neurotransmitter – A chemical released by a nerve cell (neuron) to send a message to another neuron.

Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) – See Type II Diabetes.

Nuclear Transfer – The process in which the DNA of an egg is replaced with the DNA of another cell (such as a skin cell). This creates an egg whose genetic material belongs to another organism.

Obligate Carnivore – An organism that must eat meat to survive. Cats are obligate carnivores, but humans are not.

Occipital Lobe – The back part of the brain, responsible for some sensory perception.

Oocyte – A non-motile cell that develops into an egg cell after ovulation.

Oogenesis – The process by which egg cells (oocytes) are developed.

Oncogene – A gene that causes normal cells to become cancerous.

Oncologist – A physician specializing in treating cancer.

Oophorectomy – Surgical removal of an ovary.

Optic Nerve – The nerve in the brain that sends information from the eye to the brain.

Orbit – The bony socket that holds the eye.

Organ – A group of tissues that perform a specific function in the body, such as the heart or liver.

Ovary – A hormone-producing gland located in a mammal’s pelvis. The ovary produces the female egg (ovum).

Ovulation – The release of a mature oocyte from an ovary.

Pancreas – A gland that lies alongside the stomach and secretes insulin and other hormones.

Panendoscopy – A procedure used to diagnose problems in the interior part of the colon, using a long, flexible camera inserted through the rectum.

Pancreatic Cancer – Cancer that forms in the pancreas.

Pancreatitis – Inflammation of the pancreas.

Parasite – An organism that gets its food from another organism, known as a host.

Parkinson’s Disease – A slowly progressive neurological disease that causes tremors, slow movement, and difficulty with walking and coordination.

Sources & references used in this article:

Intranodal Myofibroblastoma in a Submandibular Lymph Node: A Case Report by A Alguacil-Garcia – American journal of clinical pathology, 1992 –

Sonographic evaluation of cervical lymph nodes by AT Ahuja, M Ying – American Journal of Roentgenology, 2005 – Am Roentgen Ray Soc

Titanium deposition in regional lymph nodes after insertion of titanium screw implants in maxillofacial region by D Weingart, S Steinemann, W Schilli, JR Strub… – International journal of …, 1994 – Elsevier

Multiple pleomorphic adenomas arising in the parotid and submandibular lymph nodes by M Shinohara, T Ikebe, S Nakamura… – British Journal of Oral …, 1996 – Elsevier

Palpable lymph nodes of the neck in Swedish schoolchildren by LO Larsson, MW Bentzon, KB Kelly… – Acta …, 1994 – Wiley Online Library