Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of lymphoma are commonly seen in other, less serious illnesses, such as influenza or other viral infection. These symptoms are often overlooked, but in cases of less serious illnesses they would not last very long. With lymphoma, these symptoms persist over time and cannot be explained by an infection or another disease.

The most common symptom is a painless swelling in a lymph node. The neck or armpits are common places noticed first, but the swelling can occur in other parts of the body including the groin (that may cause swelling in the legs or ankles) or the abdomen (that can cause cramping and bloating). Some lymphoma patients notice no swelling at all while others may complain of night sweats, weight loss, chills, a lack of energy, or itching. There is usually no pain involved, especially when the lymphoma is in the early stage of development.  Most people who have nonspecific complaints such as these will not have lymphoma. However, it is important that any person who has symptoms that persist see a doctor to confirm that no lymphoma or serious illness is present.

List of Symptoms

  • Painless swelling in a lymph node
  • Chills/temperature swings
  • Recurrent Fevers and
  • Excessive sweating at night
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Persistent tiredness and
  • Lack of energy
  • Breathlessness and Coughing
  • Persistent itch all over the body without an apparent cause or rash
  • General fatigue
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Headache

*Because of the common nature of these symptoms and because lymphoma symptoms do not appear in all cases, diagnosis is often problematic.

Making early diagnosis important to treatment and outcome.  So, help make sure you and the one's you love aren't caught not knowing their nodes!

More advanced lymphoma may present with the following symptoms:

  • In certain instances, people feel pain in the lymph nodes after drinking alcohol.
  • If the lymphoma involves lymphatic tissue within the abdomen, bowel or stomach, fluid may build up causing swelling near the intestines, potentially leading to sensations of abdominal pressure, pain, diarrhea and/or indigestion.
  • The enlarged lymph node sometimes causes other symptoms by pressing against a vein (causing swelling of an arm or leg), or against a nerve (causing pain, numbness, or tingling in an arm or leg).
  • Some people experience lower back pain that is unexplained. It is thought that this may be caused by expanding lymph nodes pressing on nerves.
  • As lymphomas progress and cancerous lymphocytes spread beyond the lymphatic system, the body loses its ability to fight infection. The generalized symptoms that develop may be confused with signs of influenza, tuberculosis, other infections such as infectious mononucleosis, or other cancers. (LC)

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma

Although the number of people diagnosed with lymphoma each year is on the rise, many still don't know about this life-threatening form of cancer. 

It's important that individuals around the world know the signs and symptoms of lymphoma because it can save your life.  Signs and symptoms can be similar to other, less serious illnesses, making diagnosis sometimes challenging.  Lymphoma is often misdiagnosed as a flu or fatigue.
However an early diagnosis is important, because if untreated, some types of lymphoma can be fatal within a short period of time.

By knowing your nodes, you will better understand your lymphatic system, as well as know the signs and symptoms of lymphoma.  If signs and symptoms are detected early, there is a better chance for quicker diagnosis, treatment and overall survival.



The information on this website is for general use only. Please consult your physician if you think you may have lymphoma or require more detailed information on the best course of treatment for you.

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