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Lymphoma Symptoms

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Lymphoma is cancer that effects the lymphocytes. Lymphoma is usually suspected based on the presence of symptoms and is confirmed in the laboratory when blood or tumor biopsies are analysed. Some of the symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma include:

  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, the armpits and groin areas. This is called lymphadenopathy.
  • Low or high grade fever of long duration and with no apparent cause
  • Severe, sudden night sweats
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Tiredness along with shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Intense itching

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

One of the symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is Lymphadenopathy or swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes close to the skin are affected first such as those in the neck, groin or armpits or above the collar bone. They feel like rubbery lumps under the skin.

Feeling bloated or full with a swollen abdomen after eating only small meals, as NHL commonly affects the lymph nodes in the abdomen and chest is another symptom. In addition, the spleen may be enlarged which can give rise to a mass that can be felt under the skin after a meal. The lymphoma may also affect the intestines, with bowel movements becoming blocked and causing constipation, pain, vomiting and intestinal perforations.

Shortness of breath and pressure or pain in the chest with or without breathing. In the chest, lymphomas can cause the thymus or lymph nodes in the chest to press on the trachea or airways, leading to difficulty in breathing and tightness of the chest. A long, persistent cough is another symptom.

  • Low or high grade with fever of long duration and with no apparent cause
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Night sweats
  • There may be involvement of the brain leading to convulsions, vision and speech difficulties or paralysis.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2013

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