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Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms

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There are a number of symptoms you might have before and after you’re diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Not everyone will get the same ones. Many of the symptoms are similar to symptoms you get for other, less serious, illnesses.

Common symptoms

The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is one or more swellings in the neck or above the collar-bone. These are swollen lymph nodes. Usually the enlarged nodes are painless, but for some people they become painful after drinking alcohol.

You might also get swollen lymph nodes in your armpit, groin or any other part of your body. If the affected node is deeper in your body, rather than just beneath the surface of your skin, then the swelling may not be visible. However, you may experience other symptoms, caused by this lump pressing against another organ. For example, if you develop Hodgkin lymphoma in your chest (which is quite common) you may have chest pain, a cough or breathlessness. This can sometimes be found during a routine chest x-ray, at a time when you have no other symptoms.

B symptoms

There are three specific symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma known as B symptoms. Having or not having these can affect which treatment is right for you, because they can show how active the lymphoma has become. These symptoms are:

  • fever (38ºC or higher with no evidence of an infection)
  • unexplained weight loss in the last six months (10% or more of your previous weight)
  • drenching night sweats which soak your nightclothes and bedding

Other symptoms

You may experience some other symptoms with Hodgkin lymphoma. These are not classed as B symptoms, so they won’t be used as a guide for treatment decisions. They might include tiredness (fatigue) and itching (either widespread or in one place).

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