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Lymphoma (cont.)

What Are Lymphoma Symptoms and Signs?

Often, the first sign of lymphoma is a painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, under an arm, or in the groin.

  • Lymph nodes and/or tissues elsewhere in the body may also swell. The spleen, for example, may become enlarged in lymphoma.
  • The enlarged lymph node sometimes causes other symptoms by pressing against a vein or lymphatic vessel (swelling of an arm or leg), a nerve (pain, numbness, or tingling), or the stomach (early feeling of fullness).
  • Enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly) may cause abdominal pain or discomfort.
  • Many people have no other symptoms.

Symptoms of lymphoma may vary from patient to patient and may include one or more the following:

  • Fevers
  • Chills
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Lack of energy
  • Itching (up to 25% of patients develop this itch [pruritus], most commonly in the lower extremity but it can occur anywhere, be local, or spreading over the whole body)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lymphedema
  • Back or bone pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Blood in the stool or vomit
  • Blockage of urine flow
  • Headaches
  • Seizures

These symptoms are nonspecific, and not every patient will have all of these potential symptoms. This means that a patient's symptoms could be caused by any number of conditions unrelated to cancer. For instance, they could be signs of the flu or other viral infection, but in those cases, they would not last very long. In lymphoma, the symptoms persist over time and cannot be explained by an infection or another disease.

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Lymphoma?

Swelling in the neck, armpit, or groin, or unexplained swelling in an arm or leg should prompt one to seek medical attention. Such swellings may have many causes or have nothing to do with lymphoma, but they should be checked.

If any of the following symptoms persist for more than a few days, seek medical attention:

  • Fevers
  • Chills
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Lack of energy
  • Itching
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/25/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Lymphoma:

Lymphoma - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Lymphoma, B-Cell »

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a heterogenous group of lymphoproliferative malignancies with differing patterns of behavior and responses to treatment (Armitage, 1993).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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