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Lymphoma symptoms can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Eva, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 01

It was my right lower leg that showed symptoms of lymphoma, it was dark at the ankle and I had swelling.

Comment from: Rico, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 08

My first lymphoma symptom was a cough, it started in June last year and never stopped after that, making it hard to sleep or even just focus on anything as I would randomly get coughing fits, sometimes strong enough to make me throw up. My general physician (GP) said it was a stress-related thing and since I had no other symptoms and nothing worked to soothe it, yet my lungs were clean, I thought that he might have been right. Then close to a trip in winter I began feeling fatigued and sleepy more often than usual, my back and joints would start to ache for no reason and around the middle of January the lymph nodes near my right collarbone started to swell. The GP said it could be mononucleosis or some other infective disease, even rheumatoid arthritis. I got tested for everything but they found nothing, till the technician that did my echo got worried after seeing my lymph nodes and asked for me to demand a biopsy. I had 2 biopsies (the first sample didn't give enough material for a diagnosis, so the second time they took the whole lymph node) and 4 months later I got diagnosed with a stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. I've been prescribed 4 cycles of chemotherapy and then radiation if the PET scan between the 2nd and 3rd cycles comes out negative. My coughing reduced a lot just a couple of days after the first chemotherapy administration and the swelling too lessened considerably. I'm feeling very positive.

Comment from: scooter47, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

My symptoms started with one infection after another leading to diagnosis of MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance). Then I started to have extreme fatigue, profuse sweating and shortness of breath. At times I hardly had enough air to talk. I knew something was wrong but it took 6 months and a good doctor to figure out it was lymphoma.

Comment from: Izzy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I had a cold that I could not seem to shake. At first I contributed the overall feeling of illness to the very recent death of my father (depression). After a few weeks and a couple of doctor's visits I felt no better. As time progressed I never seemed to get 100 percent better. I was fatigued, had trouble breathing, night sweats, dry cough and itching. I knew there was something terribly wrong. It took me 10 months and 3 different doctors to finally be diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. I am halfway through chemotherapy and the prognosis is excellent.

Comment from: Optimistic, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 15

I was diagnosed with mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma of my left eye today. It started as a swelling in the lower conjunctival area which I attributed to allergy. After several months the growth was bigger and curved around my eye a bit and was salmon colored. This is called a salmon patch. I had surgery last Tuesday to remove the lesion. I am optimistic but I have also had unexplained gastric bloating and reflux that I thought was related to dairy intolerance. However, I would get the bloating sometimes with only a sip of water. I hope that is not a sign that I have this in my stomach but I will have to wait and see what the workup/staging reveal.

Comment from: Helena, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: May 30

My lymphoma was found by an endoscopy, there were follicular lymphoma cells found. There was no source. PET scan six months later show activity behind right knee; it is clear on the gastric system.

Comment from: Sharon, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 29

I got a small painless lump on my left cheek at my jaw joint. I asked my dentist who x-rayed it and he said It's a cyst and not to worry about it. Two months later I went to my primary care physician (PCP) who said it was probably a leak on my jaw joint and not to worry about it. I asked who would look at it if I wanted to have it biopsied. He told me to go to an ENT. I got an appointment about 2 months later thinking nothing major and she said it looked like either benign or cancerous parotid gland neoplasm. She was very surprised when the biopsy came back as follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I eventually had chemotherapy and now am in remission. I later got a biopsy of a basal cell carcinoma and asked for the biopsy report from a previous lesion two years ago on my wrist. It was prurigo nodularis that can be an indicator of an internal malignancy. Who knew! My oncologist said if I had been diagnosed at the dental or PCP visit then it's likely we could have had a cure with radiation, but the lymph nodes were enlarged also near my lower neck ruling out radiation treatment.

Comment from: Sheil, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

It began as a sinus infection. I had swelling on the left side of my face, then I felt a lump under my eye. I had a biopsy and diagnosis was lymphoma, cancer of the white blood cells. They have scheduled 2 MRIs and a PET scan. I am waiting for appointment with the oncologist.


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Comment from: Claudette, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: April 16

I had the flu like symptom for 4 months and had to go to the doctor for steroid shots and breathing treatments. Then I had my doctor make me an appointment with a pulmonary doctor in another city. This doctor right away found a mass on the left side of my neck and sent me for a CAT scan which showed I have tumors all over my left chest wall and in my spleen I have large cell lymphoma. I am in stage 4 and I am going to die soon. We found the NHL (non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma) too late for treatments. I get so tired so fast now, I was always so active; I was a nurse. My breathing is worse by the day it seems if it were not for my breathing treatments an oxygen and the steroids I would not be able to breathe at all. I never dreamed this would happen to me. But we never know, do we? I have no pain whatsoever so far.

Comment from: Vaidehi V C, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I had a non-painful lump on the right side of my neck. It was followed by fever and fatigue. I didn't have night sweats initially. I searched google and you tube and understood that it is lymph node enlargement. I went to an ENT specialist whose medicines never worked. My gynecologist suggested a CT scan of neck and chest which showed signs and finally had FNAC (fine-needle aspiration cytology) and biopsy which showed that I had Hodgkin's lymphoma. I took chemotherapy and am on remission right now.

Comment from: Jim W, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 25

My lymphoma symptoms began with being severely anemic. A PillCam showed that I was bleeding internally in my small intestines. A CT showed that a mass was pressing on the intestines. Biopsy showed it was lymphoma. I went straight to the doctors, and they treated it with chemotherapy. In the process, the small intestine burst as a 9 inch section had died due to blood supply being cut off by the mass pressing on it. I had a small bowel reception. I've been in remission for a year after treatment and go back for checkups every 4 months.

Comment from: Gary, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

The lymphoma symptoms started out with night sweats, leg cramps, and excessive bloating after even a small amount of food. Recently at night, I get dry mouth and also dry eyes, feels like sand in them. I get out of bed and have a coffee and I am okay. But I also have a sluggish feeling with low energy.

Comment from: adam1126, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I first started with a rash and a pain in my lower back which I thought was my kidney. I had a CT scan then later a PET scan had biopsies done; very painful. All this started in March. My biopsies came back inconclusive. It is now September and I think they are back. The last biopsy was under my armpit and now it's been 3 to 4 months and it hurts. The lymphoma is probably back and it is back to square one. I hate this!

Comment from: ExMarine, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 16

I am a type II diabetic. A1C and complete blood work done in early May 2010. 5.9 A1C, and other blood work good. I waited until June 7 to see family doctor to complete yearly physical. Second week of May had a pain in my stomach under right side of rib cage. I have been on Metformin two pills a day for over three years, and had thought that my stomach pain might be related to that medication. The doctor ordered ultra sound on Jun 8, and that showed abnormalities around my pancreas. The doctor ordered a CAT scan next day, which showed 4 mm mass in lining of my stomach. On 14th of June I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Endoscope showed mass, biopsy taken, and the doctor called to say Lymphoma. I am waiting to see an oncologist next week.

Comment from: Joey, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: April 03

I have pancreatic cancer. I have the itching also. I found help for the itching by going to a dermatologist. He gave me a prescription for a cream and also pills.

Comment from: Mikey07nj, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 07

I started with tonsil cancer, human papillomavirus positive with a 95 percent cure rate. That was 3 1/2 years ago. Now I have bone cancer, tumors in my liver and lymph nodes. Well, I went on an immunotherapy Kyetruda. In 12 weeks it killed all the bone cancer but the lymphoma is getting worse and my liver doctor doesn't see any upside to treating the liver. I mean I've been fighting for a long time and am grateful for that time I just can't see why they can't treat the 2 cancers at the same time. Mine is very rare the cell is not supposed to survive in all the places it went. Seems you should kill something that isn't supposed to survive anyway.

Comment from: biscuitsma, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

My lymphoma symptoms included enlarge lymph nodes in my left armpit.


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Comment from: Jay Ell, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I had a little swollen lymph node removed 1n 2004 and since I have MS, it was decided just to keep an eye on things. The pathology showed Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. This June (2010), I felt nodes in both groin areas, my lower abdomen was swollen and then my left thigh swelled to be 3" larger around than my right one. In a week or so, my left ankle and foot swelled and so I made an appt. with my family Dr. He immediately set me up for a Venus Doppler ultra sound to rule out blood clot and a neck to knees CAT scan. Then the next day, saw a surgeon to remove a 4cm lymph node from my L groin for pathology. The path report showed non-Hodgkin's Follicular Lymphoma grade2 B-cell. Decision was recurrence of the 2004 lymphoma. I will see an oncologist in a week or so, as early as I can be worked in, for treatment protocol. I may then get a second opinion before starting any chemo or radiation. I have thought many earlier symptoms such as fatigue, hot sweats, leg pain, etc, were due to MS so perhaps I'd have found the lymphoma sooner than now. I am a 70-year-old lady.

Comment from: Etta, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 11

Before being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, I had flu like symptoms for 9 months. Other symptoms were a swollen belly (this is where my tumors were eventually found), tiredness, breathlessness, night sweats and fevers. My doctor at that time could not find out what was wrong with me. He told me that he thought I was becoming a hypochondriac. He was my doctor for 30 years, but after he insinuated I was a hypochondriac, I had to find a new doctor. This new Dr. did many tests, blood work, and scans. He put me in the hospital and I was finally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. My blood count dropped way down. I needed surgery as one of the tumors was wrapped around my bowel. I had to wait 8 weeks for healing before I started chemo and Rituxan. I am a grateful survivor for 5 1/2 years. I'm so happy I changed doctors.

Comment from: Lito, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 08

My cardiologist referred me to a hematologist, as routine blood tests consistently revealed low white and red blood cell counts, as well as a low hemoglobin count. Additionally, I had had a cold/flu for three weeks or more for each of the previous four months. The hematologist found my low blood cell counts as interesting but was not "worried" as he treated other patients whose blood cell counts were much lower than mine. Initially, he thought I was anemic and he prescribed iron. The iron did not improve my blood cell counts, so he did a bone marrow biopsy of my right hip. The biopsy contained a few lymph cells but he was not worried as recent studies show that about five percent of the population over 65 have lymph cells in their bone marrow I am sixty-two years old). He was ready to stop testing then until I reminded him of my night sweats and fatigue, then he did a PEP scan in which I "lit up the board." A surgeon removed a lymph node from my groin and the pathologist discovered I have follicular lymphoma. Tomorrow, I start chemotherapy.

Comment from: Skip, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 01

I noticed about two months ago I had a swollen limp node in my neck, which at first was just a pulled muscle. A few days later, though, I noticed a slight pain in my right lung. I couldn't take a full breath. After many blood tests, cat-scans, pet scans, etc, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. I'm waiting to be scheduled for my chemo treatments.

Comment from: GrandmaD, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 01

About a year ago my primary care doc left her practice in my state and moved to another. In the 3 yrs I was her patient, she only did routine blood work for cholesterol. During my last year as her patient I told her that I had been losing weight consistently without dieting, and that I seemed to be very tired most of the time, and had terrible night sweats. She didn't seem concerned about the weight loss or the tiredness. A couple of months after she closed her office, I saw a new doctor (I call her my angel of Mercy). I told her about the weight loss, fatigue, and lack of blood tests, except for cholesterol checks. She immediately ordered a battery of blood tests and after getting the results, referred me to a Hematologist/Oncologist. My white count was high and so were my Lymphocytes. Within a week I was having a bone marrow biopsy which proved I have an indolent form of NHL. I don't know what the future will, bring but for now my wonderful oncologist and I think a "watch and wait" approach is the best course of action. He does blood work every 3 months and CT scans every 4-5 months. There has been little change in the CT scans, which is good news. I did get a second opinion, to satisfy some questions I had, and to pacify my family. I'm so glad I did. He was able to put my mind at ease about question I didn't know I had. My advice to anyone going thru this...don't hesitate to be checked, and don't hesitate to get a second opinion. Your doctor would rather you did, than to have questions you are afraid to ask.

Comment from: Quizfred, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: April 21

My large b-cell lymphoma was different than most. It started in the hollow part of my humerus and grew in there. I believe I had it for more than a year before it was diagnosed. It started with mild pain when I did some heavy lifting and ended up to the point I could not move my arm at all because of the pain. It is being treated with a combination of chemo and radiation therapy. My prognosis is good.

Comment from: vern, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 19

I noticed swelling in my groin and discharge of white and pink fluid from my leg.

Comment from: Debra, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 13

My mother's first bout with lymphoma was in the tear ducts of her eyes. She had one tear duct in eye removed and the, she had 17 rounds of radiation in each eye. Then, the cancer settled in her spleen. She looked as if she was 9 months pregnant. She then had several round of radiation and chemotherapy. She went into remission for five years until she developed swelling in her cheek. First, the doctor thought it was her teeth causing problems, so he put her on antibiotics. When there was no decrease in the swelling, I insisted that she see another doctor, who also put her on antibiotics. I insisted that they biopsy deep tissues in her cheek. Lymphoma. If you suspect something is not right, get a second or even third opinion. Insist. You know your body best. My mother just turn 72 and she's still in remission.

Comment from: HOPE.., 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 13

My diagnosed lymphoma started when I began to eat. I could only eat small bites. If I ate too much, I would get a pain in my stomach like no other. I ended up at the hospital, and I was thought to be having a gall stone attack. After a CT scan, I was shocked to find out that I had mass the size of a tennis ball at the top of my pancreas. I had an intense four months of chemotherapy, and now I go for check-ups every three months. Also, a few months before all my pain had begun I was told that I had an infection called Helicobacter pylori. I'm wondering if that might have had anything to do with my lymphoma. I am also the mother of four young children.

Comment from: cancer at 31, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

For my lymphoma, it all started with itchy skin on my arms, then it came all over. I tried all the time, but I didn't feel like doing even the most normal things. I just wanted to sleep all the time. I could not eat more than a few bits before I started to feel sick. I thought it wasn't a big deal until I got a dry cough, which turned into a cough with a bloody discharge. At that point, it was clear to my doctor that it was cancer. A chest X-ray and CT scan later confirmed it.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 22

I had severe pain down my neck and left arm after a sip or two of wine or beer. I was unable to even taste anything with alcohol for at least 2 years. It baffled my doctor. In 2007 I got very sick and went to the doctor for persistent cough and found I had pneumonia. A week later I was told I had a mass in my chest (discovered on an ex-ray by a radiologist). I then had a CAT scan with a needle biopsy which was negative. My regular doctor wanted me to wait 3 months before another CAT scan. I asked for a referral to see an oncologist who requested a surgical biopsy and PET scan--he told me the alcohol-related pain was classic for Hodgkin's Disease. He was right. It was.

Comment from: mother of 2, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

I had severe itching I thought for 2 years it was just dry skin. Then I found a lump on my neck after a month I finally went to the doctor. After 2 different CT scans, they said I had lymphoma. So I had chemo every other week (ABVD) after 6 months it was gone.

Comment from: Keagen, 7-12 Male (Patient) Published: July 01

I had symptoms of a cold and tight chest for about six weeks. The doctor treated me for a cold. I had a strange cough and my chest was making funny sounds. My chest grew tighter and I struggled to breathe. Then one morning my whole neck and face was swollen. That was the start of my nightmare, and my whole life changed over a weekend.

Comment from: charmer5, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 08

The only symptom of lymphoma I had was pain in my thigh. That's the only one I experienced. I went to an orthopedist, he saw something on an x-ray around my ischium bone which is one of the bone's of your pelvic region. He referred me to someone else who was an "orthopedist oncologist". They ran all kinds of tests, nothing showed up. It wasn't until 4 years later, when a doctor I had seen asked his radiologists to look at the films, they STILL did not think it was cancer. On his recommendation, he told me to take MRI's every 3-6 months and keep an eye on the area. It wasn't till the pain was soo bad that I couldn't walk, that the MRI finally showed an enlargement of a node in my lower abdomen that they then did a biopsy and everything else is history....in remission now it will be 3 years in July!

Comment from: Tokkie, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 27

Mine started with pain in the left side of abdomen. The pain escalated and on sonar and gastroscopy they found a tumor like growth full of solid fluid not clear. At first no diagnosis of cancer was made with the biopsy because it was only dead tissue a second biopsy from external gave the same reading . Surgery was done by removing the cyst like growth from the spleen, stomach and liver. 70% stomach and 33% liver had to be removed the third biopsy proved Lymphoma cancer. Probably the non Hodgkin type. I am now undergoing chemotherapy and the doctor said it is treatable with chemotherapy. I used to smoke a lot and would like to know if it caused the cancer.

Comment from: survivor, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: May 24

I began to experience night sweats about nine months ago. They were obviously not related to hormone changes. About four months ago, I noticed that there were swollen glands sensitive to touch under both arms. I reported these symptoms to my internist, who referred me for a chest x-ray, then a CAT scan. The latter showed the swollen lymph glands and lymph system-related nodules in my lungs. A biopsy revealed that I have an indolent form of lymphoma related to B-cells in the immune system. I will consult with several oncologists to explore treatment options, which probably will involve biological methods of control with relatively few side effects.

Comment from: archemy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 10

I had a pain high in the middle left side of my back that gradually got worse over a couple of months. I thought I had a pulled muscle, but it would be worse AFTER sleeping which was weird. The pain started to radiate so got a CT to see if it was a weird kidney stone. It was a 5x5x3cm mass growing out of my spinal cord. The biopsy showed it to be lymphoma, large diffuse B cell. Had chemo after the surgery; doing well.

Comment from: Aritan, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 04

My lymphoma was found by accident. I had a pulmonary embolism and through a CT scan to locate the embolism they noticed something around my heart, confirmed by a needle biopsy it was Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had no symptoms like described except for shortness of breath and fatigue from the pulmonary embolism. I'm lucky it was found in its beginning stages.

Comment from: Jrobinson, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: April 22

My healthy active 75 year old grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. She has it in her stomach area she couldn't eat and had pain and weight loss, the doctor at first thought it was ulcers but not a week later CANCER. She had a grandson with Leukemia and a brother with Hodgkin's. After her grandson died she discovered a rash that wouldn't go away it was on her legs for years she went to doctor and the skin doctor said they are due to stress, but now I am researching the symptoms a lot of things just keep adding up.


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