Local symptoms of lymphoma

Some people have other symptoms, depending on where the lymphoma is in their body. Local symptoms may include the following:

  • If the lymphoma is in the chest area, symptoms include a cough, difficulty swallowing or breathlessness.
  • If the lymphoma is in the stomach or bowel, symptoms include indigestion, tummy pain or weight loss.
  • Pain caused by pressure from swollen lymph nodes. For example, pain in an area such as the tummy (abdomen). This is not common.
  • Occasionally, and only in Hodgkin lymphoma, aching or painful swollen lymph nodes soon after drinking alcohol. 

Other symptoms of lymphoma

Lymphoma can also cause symptoms that affect the whole body, including:

  • heavy, drenching sweats, especially at night
  • high temperatures over 38˚C (100.4˚F) that come and go without any obvious cause
  • unexplained weight loss
  • tiredness
  • itching all over the body that does not go away.

Some people do not have any of these symptoms and the lymphoma is found during tests for other conditions.

We understand that showing any symptoms of what could be lymphoma is worrying. The most important thing is to speak to your GP as soon as possible. We're also here if you need someone to talk to. You can:

If lymphoma is in the bone marrow

If the lymphoma is in the bone marrow (where blood cells are made) it can reduce the number of blood cells in your body.

This can cause:

  • tiredness, if you do not have enough red blood cells
  • difficulty fighting infections, if you do not have enough white blood cells
  • bruising or bleeding, if you do not have enough blood-clotting cells (platelets).

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our lymphoma information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Blood and bone marrow cancers. NICE Pathways. Last accessed 3 December 2020.

    Hodgkin lymphoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up; European Society for Medical Oncology (2018).

    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: diagnosis and management; NICE Guideline (July 2016).

    Newly Diagnosed and Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up; European Society for Medical Oncology (2020).

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Rajnish Gupta, Macmillan Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.