Lymphoma - non Hodgkin

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer of the lymphatic system.

NHL is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. Around 11,500 people are diagnosed with it each year. There are many types of NHL. Some grow very slowly and may not need treatment for months or years. In some cases they may never need treatment. Other types grow quickly and need treatment soon after diagnosis.

Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

The most common early symptom of NHL is a painless swelling in the lymph nodes in one area of the body, such as in the neck, armpit or groin. Some people have other symptoms relating to where the lymphoma is in their body. Symptoms may include:

  • a cough, difficulty swallowing or breathlessness (if the lymphoma is in the chest area)
  • indigestion, tummy pain or weight loss (if the lymphoma is in the stomach or bowel).

If NHL spreads to the bone marrow, it can reduce the number of blood cells. This can cause:

  • tiredness (too few red blood cells)
  • difficulty fighting infections (too few white blood cells)
  • bruising or bleeding (too few blood-clotting cells, called platelets).

NHL can also cause general symptoms, including:

  • heavy, drenching sweats at night
  • high temperatures that come and go without any obvious cause
  • unexplained weight loss
  • tiredness
  • itching of the skin that doesn't go away.

*Information provided by Macmillan cancer support

Click the following links to view patient videos provided by Bloodwise (formerly 'Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research'):

  1. Brian's Story: high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  2. Wendy's Story: low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma
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