Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma
Lymphoma is common among people who are aged 20 to 30 years old. The most common symptoms are prominent lymph nodes, tonsils getting swollen, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and pain in the spleen. In other cases, it may be asymptomatic or painless, that’s why it’s important to watch for other signs.
Here is a comprehensive list of the signs and symptoms of both Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Take note of these symptoms and consult your physician immediately to confirm diagnosis.
- Lymph node formation in the chest, armpits or neck (common for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). It may be painless or asymptomatic.
- Pain in the chest, bones, or abdomen (manifested in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma)
- Fever (unknown cause)
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Feeling of exhaustion
- Itchy skin
- Presenting symptoms depending on the tumor’s location. (e.g., breathing difficulties may be experienced for those who have lymph nodes in the chest area)
Just like any other cancer, once diagnosed, its stage must be determined. In the case of Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the stages are classified depending on the location and the number of lymph node formations throughout the body. The stages are as follows:
Stage 1: Only one large lymph node is found in the body.
Stage 2: One enlarged lymph node is found in the upper part of the body, especially above the diaphragm.
Stage 3: Three enlarged lymph nodes are detected throughout the body.
Stage 4: Four enlarged lymph nodes are detected throughout the body.
Predisposing Factors of Lymphomas
The cause of both Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is unknown (meaning it’s idiopathic). Like any other form of cancer, the cause is unknown, and further research is still ongoing.
Health experts, however, suggest the predisposing factors that may lead to lymphoma are:
- Carcinogens: asbestos, tobacco smoking, air pollutants, deep-fried brown food, and metallic substances
- Genetics: A family history of any form of cancer
- Immunocompromised: People who have a weak immune system, autoimmune disorders (e.g., HIV)
Diagnostic Procedures of Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Once your physician detects a swollen lymph node anywhere in the body, further tests are conducted to diagnose if there is the presence of lymphoma. Usually, a biopsy is the first option; however, other procedures can be done, such as:
- PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography)
- CT Scan (Computed Tomography)
- Flow Cytometry
- Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration
Patients who are diagnosed with lymphoma are advised to either undergo Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy. However, it must be taken into account that Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more treatable as compared to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Just remember that Hodgkin’s lymphoma involves the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cells and is more treatable. This is mainly how it differs from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The predisposing factors, diagnostic procedures, and management are almost the same.