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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Top questions about non-Hodgkin lymphoma

What you should know about non-Hodgkin lymphoma

What are the signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Common symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Fever
  • Chills and/or night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dramatic and unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort, pain or bloating
  • Headaches
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash or itching
  • Swollen lymph nodes

These symptoms may also affect some patients with Hodgkin lymphoma or leukemia. Some symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma, such as fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes, may resemble the flu. But in lymphoma or leukemia patients, these symptoms may not go away. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your doctor.

Learn more about non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Can non-Hodgkin lymphoma be prevented?

The cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown, but known risk factors include:

Age: The median age of a patient diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma is 67, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most cases—67 percent—are diagnosed in patients between the ages of 55 and 84.

Previous illness: Patients who have had organ transplants, immune disorders or diseases that affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, may be at a higher risk of lymphoma.

Exposure: Those exposed to radiation or who had radiation therapy at a young age may be at higher risk. Researchers are exploring whether exposure to certain chemicals and pesticides is a possible risk factor, according to the American Cancer Society.

Gender and race: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed more often in men and in Caucasians.


Last Revised: 06/27/2018

What's the difference? Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma

With a common origin, similar symptoms and a shared name, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are easy to confuse. But there are important differences between the two.

What's the difference? B-cells and T-cells

T and B cells

When the body needs a sophisticated immune attack, it turns to its T-cells and B-cells.