Hodgkin lymphoma can affect different people in a range of different ways. For many people, in the early stages their only symptom is a painless swelling and, until diagnosis and treatment, their Hodgkin lymphoma has little impact on their lives.
For other people, symptoms such as weight loss, persistent itching and fatigue can take more of a physical toll.
Over time, however, it is likely that everyone will be affected, either physically or emotionally, by the symptoms of their Hodgkin lymphoma.
The severity of these symptoms will have a big impact on how you live your life with Hodgkin lymphoma – whether you can continue to work or study, keep up your hobbies, even deal with day-to-day activities such as household chores.
Patient groups and online support groups are a great source of helpful tips and strategies for coping both physically and emotionally with symptoms. You can find resources below and in the resources section of this site.
The first and most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is a swelling in the neck, armpit or groin. This swelling is caused by enlarged lymph nodes and is most often found in the neck, affecting 70% of people diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Most people do not find the lumps painful, but they can sometimes ache after drinking alcohol. The lumps often grow slowly, and may be there for some time before they are noticed.
Around 1 in 4 people with Hodgkin Lymphoma will also have other symptoms, such as:
• Heavy sweating, especially overnight
• High temperatures with no obvious cause
• Rapid weight loss
• Persistent itching, which may be worse after drinking alcohol
• Coughing or breathlessness, if the lymphoma is affecting the lymph nodes in the chest or lungs
• Abdominal pain or vomiting after drinking alcohol
High temperature, sweating and weight loss are the most common of these symptoms and are referred to as ‘B symptoms’.
A few people with Hodgkin lymphoma have abnormal cells in their bone marrow when they're diagnosed. This may lead to:
• tiredness or fatigue
• an increased risk of infections
• excessive bleeding
Click here for further relevant material about symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma.