Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The lymphatic system is made up of a network of tubes (lymph vessels) and glands (lymph nodes) throughout your body.
The first symptom of lymphoma is often a painless swelling in one or more lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin. The swelling is caused by a build-up of abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells) in the lymph node.
Many people have swollen nodes due to an infection. So if you have swollen nodes, don’t panic - just get them checked by a doctor.
Other symptoms of lymphoma include:
- unexplained tiredness or fatigue
- night sweats or fever
- unexplained poor appetite or weight loss
- widespread itching
- bruising or bleeding easily
- trouble getting over infections
- pain in the chest or stomach area
- swollen tummy
- unexplained, persistent cough or shortness of breath
- headaches or vision changes
- red patches on the skin
Please note that many other conditions, such as the flu or a virus, can have the same symptoms as lymphoma. If you or some you know is experiencing these symptoms, and you do not know the cause, it is important to see a doctor.
Last reviewed: January 2019