The signs and symptoms of blood cancer
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If lymphoma is not spotted early enough it can progress, becoming a more aggressive type of lymphoma within five to 10 years, according to the Mayo Clinic. At that point, symptoms are much more likely to become apparent or increasingly irritating.
Some of the general symptoms of lymphoma can include:
- Night sweats
- Unintentional weight loss
- A high temperature (fever)
- A persistent cough or feeling of breathlessness
- Persistent itching of the skin all over the body.
However, lymphoma symptoms can vary from person to person, so not everyone experiences the same issues.
One dangerous sign to look out for, however, is swelling in the neck, armpit or groin.
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Swelling in the neck can be a sign of lymphoma (Image: Getty Images)
The sometimes subtle swelling can be painless and people can go for months without noticing the sign. The swelling is caused by an excess of affected lymphocytes (white blood cells) collecting in a lymph node.
Lymph nodes are pea-sized lumps of tissue found throughout the body.
They contain white blood cells that help to fight infection.When healthy people catch an infection, the lymph glands recruit more immune cells to help them fight off the invader; hence why they might swell up and feel tender when you’re coming down with a cold, said Felipe Samaniego, Professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma at The University of Texas Anderson Cancer Centre.
Nodes that swell up due to lymphoma usually are not as painful as they are when you are coming down with an infection, says Lymphoma Action, though some cancer patients notice an ache.
It is therefore important that even if you are not witnessing any irritation from swelling, it is important to check with your GP – as this could be something more serious.
Often accompanied by the swelling of lymph nodes, experiencing a fever is another sign that your body’s immune system is being activated, said Gary Schiller, professor of hematology/oncology at UCLA.
Of course, fevers can come and go without serious damage, however, if you find yourself experiencing fevers for no apparent reason, the NHS says that it is important to consult your GP in order to determine the cause of the fever.
Night sweats can also be a feature of lymphoma to look out for.
Lymphoma primarily impacts the lymphocytes (Image: Getty Images)
You might be waking up drenched for any number of reasons, such as hormonal changes related to menopause or an autoimmune disease.
However, some lymphoma patients also experience night sweats, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
This symptom suggests that you might be spiking fevers at night or otherwise having problems regulating your body temperature.
A nother symptom that you may disregard is patches of dry, itchy skin that could be more than simply allergies.
Cancer health (Image: Daily Express)
If you have recently started feeling unusually itchy – especially in your hands, legs, or feet – it might be related to lymphoma.
According to Moffitt Cancer Centre, some people with lymphoma also develop a visible rash, but that is not always the case.
Experts believe that the relentless itchiness can be due to the immune system releasing chemicals that can irritate nerve endings in the skin.
According to the NHS, if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, contact your GP straight away before they develop further.
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