Common Symptoms of Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system and affects the immune cells. It targets the lymphocytes present in the lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. A lymphocyte is a special type of agranulocytic white blood cell active in fighting against infections.

Around 70 types [1] of cancers are classified as lymphomas. Doctors generally divide them into two major groups: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma, previously called Hodgkin’s disease, is a rare type of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. It affects the nodes, vessels, and organs that carry immune cells throughout the body. There are less than 9,000 new diagnoses every year.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the more common type. It usually happens due to mutation of the immune cells or damage that causes the immune cells to replicate abnormally and crowd out healthy cells. This sometimes leads to the formation of tumors.

Like most cancers, lymphoma may be difficult to detect in its early stages. Many of the initial symptoms are nonspecific or resemble the flu. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be a sign that you have lymphoma.

Swollen Lymph Nodes and Pain When Drinking Alcohol

Lymph nodes are a part of the lymphatic system attacked by lymphoma. They are bean-shaped and located close to the skin of the neck, groin, and armpits. Healthy lymph nodes are not visible on the skin surface.

Swelling of these nodes is one of the most common signs of lymphoma, but not everyone experiences this. In those who do, small lumps appear near the neck, armpits, upper chest, or groin. The lumps are usually painless [2].

Lymphoma is not the only cause of swollen lymph nodes. You should see a doctor if your lymph nodes become enlarged.

Lymph nodes enlarged by lymphoma are typically painless. Although not every lymphoma patient experiences this, drinking alcohol can cause pain in the lymph nodes [3].