Lymphoma : Signs, Symptoms and Causes

Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system of the body, an integral part of the human immune system. This cancer develops when the white blood cells, called lymphocytes, present in the immune system grow uncontrolled. These lymphocytes are responsible for producing antibodies for fighting diseases and regulating the immune system.

Most of the lymphoma signs and symptoms are similar to those of some less serious diseases, such as HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, celiac disease, and hyperthyroidism.

Thus, it is recommended to visit the doctor if the patient witnesses any of the symptoms associated with lymphoma. The doctor would conduct a physical examination and also order some tests to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis.

Who is Mainly Affected by Lymphoma?

Increasing age is a common risk factor for lymphoma and is prevalent among people over the age of 65. Also, those with a weaker immune system and certain inherited genetic conditions, such as ataxia-telangiectasia and Bloom syndrome, are at high risk of developing lymphoma.

While non-Hodgkin's lymphoma affects people who are between the ages of 60 and 80, Hodgkin's lymphoma mainly affects people who are either above 65 years old or between 20 and 30.

Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma:

Lymphoma cancer symptoms can be categorized into Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms.

Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, fever, weight loss, itching, coughing, and pain in the affected lymph nodes. The non-Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms, in addition to these above-mentioned symptoms, also include chest pain, abdominal pain, skin lesions, and neurological issues.

Here are some of the most common lymphoma symptoms affecting patients:

What are the Causes of Lymphoma?

When the white blood cells of the lymphatic system undergo mutation and lead to the formation of cancerous cells, it is referred to as lymphoma. However, the exact causes of these mutations leading to lymphoma are not known.

But there are some conditions or situations that can increase an individual's risk of getting lymphoma. The following are some of the possible lymphoma causes or risk factors:

When should I see an Oncologist?

If you experience any of the lymphoma symptoms mentioned above or identify with the possible lymphoma causes or risk factors, it is advisable to see an oncologist. The oncologist would then perform a physical exam or other tests, such as imaging tests or blood tests, to diagnose lymphoma.


To conclude, it can be stated that lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system or lymphatic system, is often a result of mutations in the DNA of the lymphatic cells. The lymphoma symptoms can differ as per the spread or type of the cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Though there is no direct evidence of stress leading to lymphoma, elevated stress levels can weaken an individual's immune system, which is a risk factor for lymphoma. Therefore, it is important to manage stress effectively.

The lymphoma cancer symptoms can either develop over some months or immediately, depending on the type of the lymphoma and its stage.

Some common stage 1 lymphoma signs include fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, itchy skin, and swollen lymph nodes.

Certain lymphomas are more common among younger individuals, whereas others are more common among older individuals. For example, Hodgkin's lymphoma is common among people between the ages of 20 and 30, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is prevalent among people over the age of 60.

Some genes that are associated with lymphoma include Bcl-2, ATM, CDKN2A, and TP53. Mutations in these genes can increase the risk of lymphoma.

Some patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can have symptoms, such as fever, that come and go.

The symptoms of lymphoma in females are similar to those in men. The lymphoma symptoms in men and women include fever, fatigue, itchy skin, and swollen lymph nodes.

Yes, one can have lymphoma without symptoms, and such a state is referred to as asymptomatic lymphoma. This asymptomatic lymphoma is diagnosed through imaging or blood tests.

Lymphoma's last-stage symptoms include bone pain, jaundice, anemia, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, and easy bruising.

Yes, like other cancer types, early diagnosis can positively impact the management of lymphoma. When lymphoma is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be treated more effectively because it has not spread throughout the body.