Age is the first and most important consideration in evaluating a patient with lymphadenopathy because it helps predict the likelihood of a benign versus malignant process. In patients younger than 30 years of age, lymphadenopathy is caused by a benign underlying process approximately 80% of the time, whereas in individuals older than 50 years, it is a malignant process approximately 60% of the time. In localized lymphadenopathy, the lymphatic drainage areas should be investigated for infection or malignancy. In generalized lymphadenopathy, inquire about systemic symptoms such as fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss, and pruritus. Splenomegaly raises the suspicion for a hematologic malignancy.
- Age of the patient.
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