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Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Symptoms

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 5/31/2009

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a common form of cancer that many people suffer from. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from other medical conditions.

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    A common type of cancer is non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This type of cancer affects the lymphatic system. It is the fifth leading cause of death associated with cancer. Although it can affect anyone, white males are typically more likely to suffer from this condition.

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    Symptoms

    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma symptoms can be hard to distinguish because this condition produces a wide range of symptoms. So many symptoms can be produced from this cancer that the symptoms may not even seem to be connected to each other. The most common noticeable symptom of this condition is pain or swelling in the lymph nodes. It can occur in only one or in multiple lymph nodes.

    Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can take the form of headaches, fever, and unexplained weight loss. A person with this cancer can experience pain in the abdomen or vomiting. Fluid can begin to accumulate in the abdomen and cause swelling. Another symptom of this cancer is a blockage in the urine flow and bloody stools. The body can begin to swell in the arms, neck, and face. This cancer can cause breathing complications such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can cause the body’s bones to ach and a person to go into seizures. Odd symptoms of this cancer can take the form of severe itching and uncomfortable night sweats.

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    Diagnosis

    If a doctor suspects a person has on-Hodgkin’s lymphoma symptoms, there are a series of tests that can be done to properly diagnose this condition. These tests will likely include blood tests, chest x-rays, and CT scans. Doctors may want to run a bone marrow biopsy, a MRI, and even bone scans. Spinal taps and PET (positron emission tomography) scans are often done as well to diagnose this condition.

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    Treatment

    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is commonly treated with chemotherapy and radiation. The cancerous cells are often surgically removed. New biological agents are now being used to treat this cancer.

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    Prevention

    Although Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can affect anyone, there are a few preventative steps that can be taken to try and prevent this cancer. To prevent this condition, avoid chemicals like arsenic, lead, and pesticides. Many household chemicals may inrease the risk of this cancer. Asbestos and vinyl chloride should also be avoided. If a person is exposed to these chemicals, proper safety equipment should be worn, such as gloves, a face mask, and eye protection. Previous health conditions can increase a persons risk to developing this cancer.

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    References:

    “Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” November 25, 2008 webmd.com