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Signs & Symptoms – Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

There are numerous signs and symptoms that can indicate that an individual has developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Because the condition can affect numerous areas of the body, the symptoms of the condition can also be found in several areas of the body. Not ever patient diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will experience all of the symptoms of the condition and some of the indicating symptoms may appear without the individual developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If a person suspects that they may be developing or have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it is very important to seek a confirming medical diagnosis right away. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be an aggressive condition and the sooner treatment can be started, the better chance the individual has of beating the condition.

Because non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma primarily affects the lymphatic system, the most common symptom of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is swollen lymph nodes in the body. The swollen lymph nodes can occur in the neck, groin, collarbone area, or armpits. There is also lymphatic tissue located in the abdomen that can swell if affected by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The swelling can resemble early pregnancy and is caused by a fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity. The swelling is painless and will not inhibit a person’s quality of life, but the swelling should be examined by a physician as soon as possible to determine whether the swelling is due to cancerous growths or some other reason. Another common reason for the swelling of the lymphatic tissue is infection, which can be ruled out or confirmed by the physician during the examination of the lymphatic tissue. The physician may observe the swelling for a short amount of time to see whether it increases or decreases in size before performing a biopsy to see what has caused the swelling.

Another common symptom of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is chest pain, which occurs when non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects the lymphatic tissue located in the thymus, which is a gland located in front of the heart. When non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma causes this lymphatic tissue to swell, it can cause pressure in the chest and restrict the movement of the heart, causing chest pain. Because of the location of the thymus, swelling of the lymphatic tissue inside can also affect the trachea and the superior vena cava, the large vein which runs from the head to the heart. Pressure from the enlarged thymus on the trachea can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and fatigue while pressure on the superior vena cava can cause brain damage and may ultimately prove fatal.

Other symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include a high fever, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, and night sweats. Individuals may also experience the appearance of reddened or itchy patches on the skin, typically affecting the lower extremities. As many of the common symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma resemble those of the common cold or influenza, many individuals put off medical treatment hoping that the symptoms will go away on their own. If an individual experiences these symptoms and believe that they may be due to the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the individual should seek medical treatment quickly to avoid potentially severe complications.

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