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Hodgkin Lymphoma: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma, also called Hodgkin disease, can have many different symptoms. These are the most common:

  • Swollen lymph nodes. These cause lumps under your skin. They’re often the first symptom noticed. But swollen lymph nodes are most often caused by infection and are very common. Your healthcare provider may give you antibiotics to see if they make the nodes shrink. The most common areas for swelling are your groin, neck, shoulders (below and above the collarbone), and underarms. Usually, the swollen nodes don’t cause pain, or hurt to touch.

  • Tiredness or weakness. You may feel weak or have severe tiredness that doesn't get better with rest.

  • Cough, trouble breathing, or chest pain. These problems can be caused by enlarged lymph nodes in your chest that are pressing on your windpipe or trachea.

  • Itchy skin. You may notice that you are always scratching your skin. This may happen even when you don’t seem to have a rash or other skin irritation. If this is the case, tell your healthcare provider.

  • Pain in your lymph nodes when drinking alcohol. Experts don’t know what causes this symptom, but it's linked with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Other symptoms may also occur. They're known as B symptoms:

  • Weight loss. You lose weight without trying.

  • Fever. You may have fevers over a long period of time with no other signs of infection.

  • Drenching night sweats. You may sweat to the point of soaking your clothes and bed sheets. These sweats often happen at night, but can happen at other times, too.

B symptoms can mean that the cancer is more likely to grow quickly. If you have B symptoms, you may need different kinds of treatment.

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems. But it’s important to see a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.

Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2021
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