Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma vary, depending on where the cancer is located.

The first sign of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be a painless swelling of the neck, underarm, or groin. Swelling may also occur in the soft tissues of the arm or leg if the lymphoma has developed outside of a lymph node, as sometimes happens. If the lymphoma is present in an internal organ, such as the stomach or bowel, symptoms will relate to disruption of the organ’s function, such as gastric pain, abdominal pain, or intestinal obstruction.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Abdominal swelling, indigestion, or stomach pain may occur if the cancer is in the abdominal lymph tissue, blocks the intestines, or has damaged the abdominal lining and allowed fluid to collect.

Coughing or shortness of breath may occur if the cancer starts in the chest. This can put pressure on the windpipe. If a tumor in this area compresses the superior vena cava, swelling in the head and arms may also occur.

As a greater number of cancer cells develop, general symptoms may include:

  • Unexplained fever
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss (without dieting)
  • Itchy skin (severe), especially after showering

References:

American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp .

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/hm_lls .

National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .



Last reviewed February 2007 by Barbara Harty-Golder, MD, JD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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