In the adult population the presence of a cervical mass can be an ominous sign; over 50% of such lesions are malignant. Another obviously more benign and frequently undiagnosed cause for the same alarming symptoms is cat-scratch disease. Accurate, early diagnosis is imperative in order that definitive therapy, when indicated, be carried out. When the clinical diagnosis of cat-scratch disease is substantiated by a positive skin test with specific cat-scratch disease antigen, expectant treatment may be indicated. In the equivocal situation, however, histopathologic proof of the absence of malignancy must be obtained since unjustified delay or a mistaken diagnosis may prove fatal. Thorough investigation of the possibility of cat-scratch disease is suggested in all clinically suspicious situations.
Futrell JW, Young NA, Ketcham AS. Unsuspected Etiology of Lateral Neck Masses: Cat-Scratch Disease. Arch Otolaryngol. 1972;95(3):277–281. doi:10.1001/archotol.1972.00770080419018
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