Common Symptoms of Lymphoma


Of the several known symptoms of lymphoma, there are four that can be considered common symptoms of lymphoma: enlarged lymph nodes, and unexplained fevers, weight loss, and fatigue. These symptoms are the ones most frequently reported and most frequently associated with most subtypes of both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes in our neck or groin can become enlarged or swollen for a variety of reasons, generally having to do with the fighting of some infection in the body. This is after all their primary purpose; lymphocytes travel the body via vessels that carry lymph fluid and they attack foreign pathogens before returning to the lymph nodes. When we're sick, the nodes in our neck can become swollen, but in these cases, they are accompanied by a sensitivity to the touch.

When lymph nodes are enlarged, but are not painful to the touch, but rather feel hard or rubbery, and they persist for much longer than a lymph node swollen from infection, this is often an indication of some form of lymphoma.

Unexplained Fevers

While a fever can be indicative of many things going on in the body, recurring low-grade fevers and chills over a period of several months can sometimes be a sign of lymphoma. However, this symptom, known as a 'B' symptom, is considered a non-specific symptom, meaning it can mean many things or nothing at all, along with lymphoma. On its own, unexplained fevers would not likely get your doctor thinking 'lymphoma'. He or she would likely need plenty more signs or symptoms to reach that conclusion.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss is also a non-specific 'B' symptom. However, in lymphoma the standard rule is generally this: has the patient, over the course of several months, lost at least 10 percent of their body weight for reasons unexplained? If the answer is yes, it may be indicative of lymphoma. Like unexplained fevers, unexplained weight loss by itself would not call a doctor's attention to lymphoma, although it might call his or her attention to the possibility of cancer in general, since that kind of weight loss is closely associated with the disease.

Unexplained Fatigue

All the things that apply to unexplained fevers and weight loss apply to unexplained fatigue with regard to lymphoma: by itself, it would not likely call a doctor's attention to lymphoma; it would likely need to be present with other symptoms. In lymphoma fatigue can be caused by a compromised immune system or it can be caused by a bulky tumor mass in the chest restricting full breathing, to name just a few things that could be causing it.

Other symptoms

These are the most common symptoms of lymphoma. They are not the only ones. Less common symptoms include drenching night sweats, rashes on the skin, unexplained itching, lower back pain, and a painful feeling in the lymph nodes after ingesting alcohol.

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