Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the lymph nodes of the body, particularly in the neck. Lymphoma is a serious disease which requires specialized medical care to treat. But it can be difficult to tell the difference between lymphoma and another type of inflammation or illness which affects the lymph nodes. This article is not meant to diagnose any condition and is merely intended to familiarize you with the symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's Disease Lymphoma. Telling the difference between lymphoma of the neck and something else can be accomplished with some helpful advice and a self-examination.
Lymph nodes are small glands located under the earlobe, on the sides of the throat, and at the back of the neck near the base of the skull. These nodes produce lymph, a clear fluid that is one of the lines of defense for your body's immune system. Lymphoma can cause these nodes to swell, but so can other illnesses such as a sore throat or blocked lymph node duct. Other illnesses, however, cause pain when the lymph node is swollen, but lymphoma does not. Therefore, if your lymph nodes are swollen, but you do not feel pain when touching them, you may have lymphoma.
All forms of cancer cause weight loss to one degree or another and rapid, unexplained weight loss can indicate lymphoma. If, in addition to swollen neck lymph nodes, you are beginning to experience weight loss, you may have lymphoma.
A fever is a standard procedure for the body as it fights infection. Typically, the elevated body temperature makes the body a more difficult place for bacteria and viruses to survive. Because many illnesses can cause both swollen lymph nodes and fever, it is easy to mistake lymphoma for some other illness. If, however, the fever accompanies weight loss and/or painless swollen lymph nodes in your neck, you will need to see a physician right away as you may have lymphoma.
Sweating is another method of defense for your body, one that usually accompanies fever. While many illnesses can cause some degree of sweating, lymphoma can cause so much perspiration that your bedding and sleeping clothes become wet or "soaked."
Because the lymph nodes in the neck are swollen, you may experience trouble breathing, coughing, or even chest pains. This is because the lymph nodes are pressing against your larynx, or "wind pipe," and restricting airflow. Sometimes, but not always, the body will respond by coughing. Extended periods of coughing, combined with the above symptoms, is a likely indicator of lymphoma.
Cancer drains the resources of the body, leaving the body chronically tired or weak. If your are experiencing weakness or tiredness that will not go away as well as the other, above symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately as you may have lymphoma.
Another sign of lymphoma is swelling of the abdomen or "belly." Other illnesses may cause abdominal swelling, including food allergies or excess gas from unfamiliar foods. Appendicitis, for example, can also cause tenderness in the abdomen as well as fever, but rarely causes all of the above symptoms and never causes swollen lymph nodes. If you are experiencing a swollen abdomen in addition to the above symptoms, you most likely are suffering from lymphoma.