The term lymphoma is used for a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which plays a major role in the body’s immune function. The lymphatic system is widely distributed throughout the body; it is made of a network of fluid, lymphocytes, lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and lymphatic organs such as the spleen, the thymus, the tonsils and bone marrow. It is also found in the stomach, intestines and skin. There are several types and subtypes of lymphoma, though mostly, they are divided into two categories – Hodgkin lymphomas (HL) and the non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). Statistics show that only 10% of cases are Hodgkin lymphomas while the remaining 90% are of the other variety.
Unfortunately, as of now, there are no screening procedures for lymphoma and it may be diagnosed only when individuals approach a physician on account of some discomfort. Since the symptoms are not very distinctive, especially in the early stages, there is fair incidence of misdiagnosis. Therefore, it is advisable that individuals be very meticulous in observing their body and equally specific in relaying their symptoms to a physician.
Here are the warning signs that should alert an individual of the possibility of lymphoma:
1. Swelling of the Lymph Nodes
Ordinarily, swollen lymph nodes due to a satellite infection and thus inflammatory in nature, are accompanied by pain, but not in lymphomas, where the pain is largely absent. Mostly, the swelling appears in the neck, armpits or groin region, where there is a high concentration of lymph nodes. In general, affected individuals will simply observe the presence of lumps in these or possibly other areas.