Pain is good. How can that be? Pain is better than no pain when we are talking about the following situations:
A lymph node in the neck, the groin or the axilla, when associated with pain, is less dangerous than when not associated with pain. The former is often suggestive of acute or sub-acute inflammation, whereas the later is more suspicious of lymphomas or secondary cancers.
A breast mass, if tender, is less dangerous. Only less than 10 percent of painful breast masses are cancers and less than 10% of breast cancers are tender.
Blood in the urine (hematuria) associated with pain is often not caused by cancer. This is often caused by urinary tract infections and urinary tract stones. Painless hematuria is more dangerous as kidney and bladder cancers are important causes of this symptom.
Painful ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue are often caused by infection, trauma and chemical irritation. Painless ulcers are more worrisome of oral cavity and tongue cancers, which tend to give rise to pain in their advanced stages.
Pain in the parotid (in front of the ear) and submandibular (under the jaw) salivary glands are often caused by inflammation and stones. On the contrary, the painless swellings in these regions point towards tumors which need to be investigated fully to exclude malignancy (cancers). "May pain be with you and save you from harm?"
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