Non-Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms
Common non-Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, groin
- Night sweats (often soaking the sheets) and/or chills
- Persistent fatigue, lethargy, weakness
- Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
- Rapid or unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain or swelling, or a feeling of fullness
- Skin rash or itchy skin
- Coughing or shortness of breath
- Difficulty moving parts of the body
- Pain in the chest, abdomen or bones for no known reason
When the lymph system detects an infection, lymph nodes produce more immune cells, which may cause them to swell. Swollen lymph nodes, a fever and night sweats may also be symptoms of the cold and flu. However, unlike the cold and flu, non-Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms typically do not go away. If you have symptoms that persist for more than two weeks, or symptoms that are recurring and becoming more intense, you should see your doctor.
Sudden and dramatic weight loss, such as losing more than 10 percent of your normal weight in less than six months, is also a sign that deserves medical attention. Sometimes, a patient’s only sign of non-Hodgkin lymphoma symptom is constant fatigue.
Lymphomas may occur anywhere in the network of lymph vessels throughout the body. Tumors or swollen lymph nodes in the chest area may squeeze the superior vena cava, a major vein feeding into the heart.
When this happens, blood from the head, arms and chest may get backed up and cause swelling, or turn the skin to a bluish-red color. This condition may become severe and require medical treatment, especially if the oxygen supply to the brain becomes restricted.
B symptoms are a group of general symptoms that may be indicators of an aggressive lymphoma. B lymphoma symptoms are often identified during the staging process to help determine an overall prognosis and guide treatment decisions.
The staging process generally measures the extent and spread of cancer using the Roman numerals I-IV. The staging of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is unique in that it also assigns the letters A and B to each stage. The letters refer to whether or not certain symptoms are present.
The letter B indicates that the patient is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms: drenching night sweats, fever or unexplained weight loss. If none of these symptoms have developed, then the letter A is used. B symptoms may be signs of a more advanced cancer.
Last Revised: 02/02/2018