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Top 8 Warning Signs of Lymphoma
by : Indranil Mallick, M.D.
Lymphoma occurs inoccuously, often so harmlessly that it takes some time before you may realize that there is anything seriously wrong. Here is a list of the common symptoms of lymphoma. But you must remember that most of these symptoms are common with many harmless conditions. You should not panic if you have any of these symptoms. Consult your doctor, and he will be able to address most of your fears and doubts.
1) Painless lumps in your neck, armpits or groin
This is the most common symptom and often the only one. These are enlarged lymph nodes. Most people first notice these lumps while bathing or changing, or they may be first felt by your partner. All of the other symptoms that are given below should be present along with these enlarged nodes to be specific as a warning for lymphoma. Only an enlargement of nodes may not be specific for lymphoma.
2) Weight loss
Weight loss usually occurs rapidly over a period of a few months for no known reason. Often an individual can lose ten to fifteen pounds over a couple of months.
Fever that is continuous or occurs intermittently over a period of time and doesn't seem related to a chest or urinary infection should be a cause for you to consult a doctor. Fever that is related to node swellings occurs commonly with infections and many lymphomas are often mistaken as infections at the early stage. Occasionally, in those affected by Hodgkin lymphoma, a characteristic fever called Pel-Ebstein fever occurs.
4) Excessive sweating at night
This unique situation may be quite bothersome. You may wake up at night drenched in sweat without any apparent reason.
5) Itchiness all over your body
Another unique situation that is related to the secretion of some special chemicals from the lymphoma cells.
6) Loss of appetite
As lymphomas spread within your body and grow in size, many individuals feel a considerable loss in their appetite. Weight loss of more than 10% can be a matter of concern as it is a poor prognostic factor for lymphomas. See the article on B-symptoms of lymphoma.
7) A feeling of weakness
As cancer cells are always growing, they use up more of the body's nutrients, leaving the body with less. This makes you feel weaker.
8) Breathlessness along with swelling of the face and neck
Rarely, when a lymphoma in the neck or chest grows very large, it may block the flow of some vessels and lead to a swelling of the face and neck along with a feeling of breathlessness.
As lymphomas can occur in any organ, may give rise to some unusual symptoms as well. A lymphoma in the stomach can cause pain in the abdomen, and a lymphoma in the brain can cause a headache or leg weakness
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