Many types of cancer have no symptoms or at least none that are noticeable in the early stages. It is frequently the case for people with lymphoma, mainly low-grade (slow-growing) lymphoma.
Low-grade lymphoma, a lymphatic system malignancy, can also create complications. According to Cedars-Sinai, it can grow and become a more severe variety of lymphoma in five to ten years. Symptoms are significantly more likely to appear or become more troublesome at that stage.
How can you know if you have lymphoma?
Because the symptoms of lymphoma differ from person to person, not everyone will have the same problems.
Keep in mind many of the symptoms linked with lymphoma are ambiguous and can be attributed to a variety of distinct, unrelated illnesses; therefore, you should not assume that experiencing one of these symptoms indicates that you have lymphoma.
Even so, it’s a good idea to be aware of the following lymphoma symptoms and report them to your doctor if you have any of them.
10- Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymphoma is a cancer that primarily affects lymphocytes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, they are a unique form of white blood cell produced in your bone marrow and lymph nodes, among other places.
Lymphocytes are found in lymph nodes throughout the body, including the neck, groin, and armpit. Your spleen, which is placed below your left rib cage and contains many lymphocytes, is also located there.
When healthy persons contract an infection, their lymph glands mobilize extra immune cells to assist them in fighting off the invading organism.
That is why they may swell up and become painful when suffering from a cold, according to Felipe Samaniego, MD, Professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
On the other hand, the lymph nodes may become larger in people with lymphoma because they are filled with an excess of cancerous cells, as explained by the Cleveland Clinic. For the same reason, your spleen could grow.
According to Lymphoma Action, lymph nodes that swell up due to lymphoma are usually not as painful as they are when you have an infection; however, some cancer patients do have persistent pain in their chest.
One or more enlarged (swollen) lymph nodes are the most prevalent symptom of pembrolizumab Hodgkin lymphoma. A swollen lymph node might be found in the neck, upper chest, armpit, abdomen, or groin. The enlarged lymph node typically causes no discomfort.
9- Chills and fever
According to Gary Schiller, MD, professor of hematology/oncology and director of UCLA’s Hematological Malignancies/Stem Cell Transplant Unit, a fever is another symptom that your body’s immune system is engaged. This process can be triggered by an infection that your body wants to fight, or cancers like lymphoma can trigger it.
If you are having fevers for no apparent reason, inform your doctor so they can look into it and figure out what’s causing it.
8- Sweats at night
You could be wet in the morning for various causes, including hormonal changes associated with menopause or an inflammatory disease. According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, some lymphoma patients also experience midnight sweats.
This symptom indicates that you may be experiencing fever spikes at night or otherwise having difficulty controlling your body temperature.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is an uncommon but treatable cancer that causes systemic symptoms like fever, night sweats, and weight loss.
7- Appetite loss
Another possible symptom of lymphoma is a lack of appetite or feeling full very soon. Some people also experience nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
According to the American Cancer Society, the cause has to do with the spleen: if it becomes engorged with malignant cells, it might press against your stomach, causing discomfort.
6- Consistent, severe exhaustion
Another possible lymphoma symptom is feeling extremely fatigued all of the time, albeit a hazy one because so many other issues could be causing you to be exhausted.
According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, exhaustion is commonly caused by anemia or a deficiency of red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body. Because lymphoma patients overproduce malignant lymphocytes, the bone marrow has less capacity to produce other healthy cells, such as red blood cells.
5- Bleeding or easy bruising
The inability to produce enough healthy cells is another issue that has arisen in recent years. According to Lymphoma Action, people with lymphoma may not produce enough platelets, which help their blood clot.
Consider it a danger sign if you’re becoming black-and-blue more frequently than usual or if you’re having difficulties stopping the bleeding when you nick yourself.
4- Coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pressure
Lymphomas may begin in the thymus gland, which is another part of your immune system that is located in your chest. According to the American Cancer Society, if this gland or other lymph nodes in your chest expand, they may strain on the windpipe, causing coughing, chest pain, or chest pressure.
Note: If you’re having problems breathing, whether or not you have lymphoma, consider it a medical emergency and seek care immediately soon.
3- Noticeable and unexplained Weight loss
For those who have tried hard to lose weight in the past, losing weight without attempting may appear like a reason to be happy. However, losing a considerable amount of weight (about 10% of your initial body weight or more in six months) without making any modifications to your typical diet and exercise habits is a red signal that something is wrong.
According to the American Cancer Society, this happens because cancer cells grow far faster than normal cells and require considerably more energy (calories) than healthy ones.
2- Itchy Skin
Itching is a common symptom of dry skin and allergies, so it’s typically nothing to be concerned about. However, if you’ve lately started experiencing odd itching, particularly in your hands, legs, or feet, it could be a sign of lymphoma. According to Moffitt Cancer Center, some people with lymphoma get a noticeable rash, although this isn’t always the case.
According to the Moffitt Cancer Center, experts believe that the immune system’s release of chemicals (cytokines) is responsible for persistent itching. These chemicals can aggravate nerve endings in the skin.