What Are the Symptoms of a Lymphoma Relapse?


Lymphoma is defined as a cancer of the lymph nodes, which are glands located throughout the body. They are most commonly felt in the throat, under the arms and in the groin. Lymph nodes are a major portion of the body's immune system and create fluids that help fight bacteria and infection. Many people who have previously been diagnosed and undergone treatment for lymphoma enjoy remission that may last decades. Sometimes, people relapse. Understanding the symptoms of a lymphoma relapse may help individuals to seek help immediately, before the condition worsens.

Checking for Symptoms

  • The most common, and major, symptom of a return of lymphoma cancer is swollen lymph nodes. Often, these may feel like raised and pliable or movable bumps beneath the surface of the skin, most commonly in the neck, the armpit and the groin areas. The swollen lymph nodes may be painful to the touch.

Additional Symptoms

  • Individuals might also feel a sense of ongoing fatigue or lethargy, that may or may not be accompanied by weight loss. Others experience bouts of fever and chills, while others suffer from night sweats.


  • In most cases, doctors and surgeons can determine what stage a cancer is in by how many organs or body areas are affected. The most common site for lymphoma symptoms to appear is the neck. Cervical lymph nodes are found along the front of the throat, while supraclavicular lymph nodes may be felt just above the collarbone. Doctors will also look first at axillary lymph nodes, located in the armpit, and subclavian and pectoral lymph nodes in the upper portions of the chest.

Cytogenic Relapse

  • A cytogenic relapse is one that is noted in laboratory tests, but not in physical examinations or by symptoms felt by a given individual. Such a relapse may be determined by blood tests, or flow cytometry, as well as fluorescence in situ hybridization, a FISH test.

Relapse Risks

  • A standard belief is that the longer a person goes without relapsing, the better his or her chances are of beating lymphoma. However, even individuals who are in remission for five years or more can not be guaranteed that their lymphoma will never reappear. It is especially important for anyone diagnosed with lymphoma to undergo routine examinations and tests to make sure any remission is caught early enough to treat.

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