Signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

The most common early symptom of NHL is a painless swelling in the lymph nodes in one area of the body, such as in the neck, armpit or groin. Some people have other symptoms relating to where the lymphoma is in their body. Symptoms may include:

  • a cough, difficulty swallowing or breathlessness (if the lymphoma is in the chest area)
  • indigestion, tummy pain or weight loss (if the lymphoma is in the stomach or bowel).

If NHL spreads to the bone marrow, it can reduce the number of blood cells. This can cause:

  • tiredness (too few red blood cells)
  • difficulty fighting infections (too few white blood cells)
  • bruising or bleeding (too few blood-clotting cells, called platelets).

NHL can also cause general symptoms, including:

  • heavy, drenching sweats at night
  • high temperatures that come and go without any obvious cause
  • unexplained weight loss
  • tiredness
  • itching of the skin that doesn’t go away.

Back to Understanding non-Hodgkin lymphoma

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, blood cells called lymphocytes become abnormal. It is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.

Types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

There are many types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These are often described as B-cell or T-cell lymphoma– depending on where they began.