Non-Hodgkin lymphomas need not be a mystery to you – know which signs and symptoms you need to watch out for.
Lymphoma is the general term used to describe cancers that develop in the lymphatic tissues. In case of a non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the lymph nodes enlarge owing to abnormal and uncontrollable growth of lymphocytes. These enlarged lymph nodes form tumorous masses that are generally painless. Some non-Hodgkin lymphomas are low-grade/slow growing, while others are high-grade/fast growing ones. These lymphomas can be localized to one lymph node, a group of nodes, and even other organs. In most cases, this condition affects several organs in the body at the same time.
Depending on the organ or part of the body that is affected, the signs and symptoms of NHL may differ. In most cases, diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is difficult because it may or may not show any symptoms at all until the tumor is quite big, and most of the symptoms seen can easily be mistaken for those of other illnesses.
Perhaps the most common symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a swollen lymph node. Usually observed in the neck, groin or armpit area, these swellings are painless. Lymph nodes are full of white blood cells that your body uses to fight off infections. If you have NHL, these lymphocytes or white blood cells are produced in excess causing the lymph nodes to swell up. However, it is important to understand that swollen lymph nodes don’t necessarily mean that you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These glands generally swell up whenever you have an infection in your body. If the swollen lymph nodes persist for more than 6 weeks and are unexplained by your overall health condition, schedule an appointment with your physician to get them checked.
Other than swollen lymph nodes, there are a few general symptoms seen in patients suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These secondary signs are known as group B-symptoms. These include:
Other than these general symptoms, you are likely to see some specific symptoms depending on the organ and part of your body that is affected by the non-Hodgkin lymphoma. For example, those with NHL in the stomach are likely to experience indigestion and stomach pains.
Here’s a look at specific symptoms caused by types of NHL.
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