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Lymphoma types and early warning signs

Lymphoma cancer is detected in the lymphatic system, which comprises the bone marrow, spleen, lymph nodes, stomach, intestines, and skin. The disease is marked by abnormal growth of white blood cells. More than half a million new lymphoma cases are diagnosed in the country every year. Since lymph tissues are spread throughout the body, lymphoma can start almost anywhere. Here are some common early signs of the disease to look out for.

Types of lymphoma
The disease can be classified into over 70 types based on cancer growth, aggression, and symptoms. The disease originates in white blood cells called B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells) found in the bone marrow.

Broadly, lymphoma is divided into two types:

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
It begins in the lymphatic system and is marked by abnormal white blood cell growth that forms tumors throughout one’s body. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in older adults.

Hodgkin lymphoma
Hodgkin lymphoma usually begins in B cells and is comparatively easier to cure at an early stage. It can affect both kids and adults at any point. Several treatments are available for the disease, from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy, to stem cell transplantation. A patient’s recovery depends on the type and stage of their cancer.

What are the early signs of lymphoma?
Enlargement of lymph nodes is usually the first sign of lymphoma and can feel or appear like lumps under one’s skin. These bumps are usually painless but can be itchy, red, or purple. They can appear around one’s armpits, above the collarbone, groin area, or on the side of the neck.

Additionally, depending on the location of the lymphoma, one can look for the following early signs of the disease.

Enlargement of lymph nodes
Abdominal pain or swelling due to fluid buildup or spleen or liver enlargement
Nausea or vomiting
Loss of muscle or body mass
Breathing difficulties
Easy bruising
Inexplicable or chronic fatigue
Chest pain
Recurring infections
Loss of appetite or feeling full without eating much

Apart from these, non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients can also exhibit the following symptoms:

Frequently running a temperature without any infection
Sudden night sweats
Unintentional loss in body mass, approximately 10% over six months

Certain infections can also result in enlarged lymph nodes. Thus, having swollen lymph nodes does not automatically indicate cancer. Therefore, regular full-body health examinations and doctor consultations can help one to determine if they have lymphoma or are at risk of the condition.

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