lymph nodes

Definition: Lymph nodes are oval-shaped masses of tissue that act as filters for a fluid called lymph. They are responsible for removing cell waste and ultimately help the body fight off infection.

Lymph nodes are scattered throughout the body, wherever there is lymphatic tissue, like in the armpit, groin, neck, pelvis and abdomen. In these areas, some lymph nodes can be palpated -- they feel like a pea or small bean.

Enlarged, or swollen lymph nodes, can indicate infection, cancer or another disease that affects the lymphatic system. Most typically, swollen lymph nodes are related to a minor infection that the immune system is fighting, like the common cold or even a tooth abscess. Nodes that are immobile, hard and non-tender are linked to cancer. Swollen lymph nodes that do not shrink down to their normal size or become larger need to evaluated by a physician.

Pronunciation: limf node
Also Known As: lymph gland
Examples: They removed 6 lymph nodes from her abdomen.

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