Sign and Symptoms
Since there are many types of NHL, the disease can manifest in a variety of ways. Symptom severity can range from mild to very severe, depending on the aggressiveness of the cancer (Kobrinsky 2012). One common presentation is lymphadenopathy – swelling of the lymph nodes.
Lymphadenopathy also occurs in HL, wherein it is observed in lymph nodes above the diaphragm in a significant majority of cases. Specifically, lymph nodes in the neck and under the arm are frequently affected, but swelling may also occur in lymph nodes in the groin in some cases (Lash 2013).
Lymphoma may also cause systemic symptoms, referred to as “B-symptoms,” which may be indicators of a rapidly developing lymphoma. B-symptoms include (Johansson 2010; Kobrinsky 2012; Portlock 2012; CTCA 2013):
- unexplained fever (ie, temperature >100.4° F for 3 consecutive days)
- night sweats
- weight loss (ie, more than 10% of body weight in preceding 6 months)
Additional symptoms can include:
- lack of energy
- shortness of breath
Sometimes lymphoma arises in a site other than a lymph node, such as a bone, in which case symptoms may include bone pain; similarly, rashes or lumps in the skin may indicate lymphoma originating in the skin (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 2011a).