Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is comprised of lymph nodes, the thymus gland, and bone marrow; all of which help make up our immune system. Lymphoma attacks lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps protect the body.
There are two main categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Both attack the lymphatic system, but each has a different treatment plan and prognosis. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is very rare and only accounts for 10% of the diagnosed cases of lymphoma.
The disease is characterized by the presence of an atypical cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the most treatable form of cancer. Still, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a much better prognosis than it once did, with a 71.4% recovery rate. The symptoms of both types of lymphoma are often missed at first, because they are so similar to other, less serious disorders.
As with any illness, early detection is key to gain a diagnosis and effective treatment plan; but it is all about tuning into the warning signs of this disease, and booking a visit to your doctor for assessment. Therefore, below are the 10 most common symptoms of lymphoma to look out for.
The most common symptom of lymphoma is enlarged lymph nodes. Lymph nodes can be found throughout the body. They are a part of the lymphatic system that filters lymph fluid, trapping bacteria, which will later be destroyed by lymphocytes. Under normal circumstances, they cannot be felt, but certain lymph nodes that are located closest to the skin can be felt as small lumps when they are enlarged. The areas that are most noticeable when they are swollen include the lymph nodes located on the sides of the neck, the underarm region, the groin, or directly above the collar bone. It’s important to note that enlarged lymph nodes do not necessarily mean that you have lymphoma, and are more commonly a sign of infection. Still, if you or a loved one notice enlarged lymph nodes, a visit to the doctor is highly recommended.