Lymph Node CancerLymph node cancer, or lymphoma, occurs due to abnormal growth of white blood cells within lymph nodes. This cancer affects lymphatic system in the body, which is an integral part of the immune system. Lymphatic system includes lymph glands, spleen, thymus and bone marrow. Lymphatic system transports clear fluid called lymph that consists of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes protect the body against viruses and infections. When lymphocytes begin to multiply uncontrollably that results in lymph node cancer. Lymph node cancer accounts for approximately 5% of all cancers. Men are predominantly affected by this cancer. It mostly affects people between 15 and 34 years of age but all age groups are at risk.
Symptoms of Lymph Node Cancer
There are two types of lymph node cancer: Hodgkin’s cancer and Non Hodgkin’s cancer, both with similar symptoms.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
This is the most common symptom that can be early noticed. Swelling of the lymph nodes occurs in the arm pits, abdomen, in sides of the neck and groin area. Swollen lymph nodes feel like enlarged bumps that can be tender to touch when affected by infections. Even though swollen lymph nodes can be a symptom of various medical conditions this must be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.
Swollen lymph nodes may cause the pain when an infection is involved. They may be painful to touch. This pain can be worsen after drinking alcohol. Pain in abdomen and feeling of fullness also occur when lymphoma progresses and spleen becomes inflamed and swollen. Back pain can be another present symptom.
Slightly increased body temperature may occur in some patients affected by lymph node cancer. This fever may sometimes result from viral or bacterial infection. Weakened immune system can also lead to low grade fever which is followed by chills, night sweats, muscle weakness, and pain.
Problems of Gastrointestinal TractThe loss of appetite as well as the weight loss occurs with the progression of lymph node cancer. Swollen abdomen and intestines result in bloating sensation which is the main reason for appetite loss. The loss of appetite may also occur due to fluid retention (edema) or difficulty in bowel movements. When the cancer spreads, appetite loss is usually accompanied with indigestion, nausea, vomiting and rapid weight loss.
Cognitive SymptomsIn some cases, the lymph node cancer may spread to the brain and cause behavioral changes, problems with focusing, headaches, seizures and general weakness.
Other symptoms of lymphoma cancer include: lethargy or fatigue, itching, chest pain and coughing.