Symptoms and Signs of Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Medically Reviewed on 3/25/2022

Doctor's Notes on Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lymph system; there are many types: cancerous and benign. General signs and symptoms of adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, groin, and/or stomach. Fever, weight loss, and pains in the chest, abdomen, or bones can occur -- all for unknown reasons. Other symptoms and signs include

If fever, night sweats, and weight loss occur together, the group is termed B symptoms. In addition, other signs and symptoms may occur depending on where the cancer occurs in the body, the tumor size, and how fast it grows.

The cause of adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is unclear but may begin in B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, or natural killer cells that become abnormal.

What Are the Treatments for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Treatments vary; if the lymphoma is slow growing, you may not need any immediate treatments, just regular checkups. If it is more aggressive, options include the following:

  • Chemotherapy: cancer-killing drugs
  • Radiation therapy: X-ray or proton beam killing of lymphoma cells
  • Targeted drug therapy: blocks agents certain cancer cells need
  • Immune cellular therapy: your T cells trained to fight specific non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer cells
  • Bone marrow transplant: infusion of healthy donor bone marrow
  • Immunotherapy: compounds interfering with cancer cell's ability to hide from immune defense mechanisms

Your doctors may choose to use some of the above treatments in combination, especially if your disease is aggressive.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.