1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Lymph Nodes Defined

By

Updated May 09, 2014

Lymph nodes image, lymphatic system image, lymph, swollen glands image,

Lymph Node & Lymphatic System

Image: ADAM
Definition: Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, part of the immune system that helps filter bacteria and cancer cells from the body.

The lymph nodes, which are located in many areas of the body including the neck, the armpit, the groin, under the jaw, the back of the head and other places, produce immune cells that help the body fight infection. Because they help to filter cancer out of the body, they may become cancerous if there is a mass nearby that is attempting to spread through the body.

Lymph nodes may be swollen when fighting bacteria or disease. When they become swollen and tender, their location is far more obvious, leading many to say that their "glands are swollen".

A sentinel lymph node is the closest lymph node or nodes to a known cancer site. It is the most likely node to be affected by cancer. If the node is positive for cancer, this is an indication that the cancer is attempting to spread through the body.

Pronunciation: lim-ff
Also Known As: swollen glands, lymphatic system, lymph glands, swollen nodes, lymph, sentinel lymph node.
Common Misspellings: limph, lymf,
Examples:
The surgeon was planning to biopsy the lymph node to see if it showed any signs of cancer.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Surgery
  4. Glossary
  5. What Are Lymph Nodes? - Definition and Function

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.