Lymphoma Pain

lymphatic node tissue

Lymphoma is a blanket term for a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the system in body that fights disease and consists of lymph nodes, the spleen, the thymus gland, and bone marrow. While there are many forms of lymphoma, the major classifications are Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the more common classification. This occurs when the body overproduces lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. This overproduction causes the excess lymphocytes to collect in the lymph nodes, causing swelling. Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma may include:

  • Painless swollen lymph nodes in neck, armpits, and groin

  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen

  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, or coughing

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Unexplained, unintentional weight loss

Treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma varies on a patient-to-patient basis. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both common treatments that may be used independently or together. However, these treatments are both often accompanied by unpleasant side effects, which has led medical scientists to work on developing new forms of treatments. Medications meant to bolster the immune system and stem cell transplant therapies have both shown promise in treating Non-Hodgkin’s.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, once known as Hodgkin’s Disease, causes cells in the lymphatic system to grow abnormally and possibly spread beyond the lymphatic system. This form is far less common than Non-Hodgkin’s. The symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, some of which resemble symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s, may include:

  • Non-painful swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Fever and chills

  • Night sweats

  • Unexplained, unintentional weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Itchiness

  • Decreased tolerance to the effects of alcohol

  • Pain in lymph nodes following consumption of alcohol

Treatment options for Hodgkin’s lymphoma are similar to those of Non-Hodgkin’s, and commonly involve chemotherapy, radiation, and/or stem cell therapy.

If you notice worrisome symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. After taking a thorough history, your doctor may wish to order diagnostic tests. If lymphoma is discovered, your doctor will work with you to determine the best form of treatment for your specific case.


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