Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma 

The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.

Lymph nodes, also known as lymph glands, are pea-sized lumps of tissue found throughout the body. They contain white blood cells that help to fight against infection.

The swelling is caused by a certain type of white blood cell, known as lymphocytes, collecting in the lymph node.

However, it's highly unlikely you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma if you have swollen lymph nodes, as these glands often swell as a response to infection.

Read more about lumps and swellings.

Other symptoms

Some people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma also have other more general symptoms. These can include:

Other symptoms depend on where in the body the enlarged lymph glands are. For example, if the abdomen (tummy) is affected, you may have abdominal pain or indigestion.

A few people with lymphoma have abnormal cells in their bone marrow when they're diagnosed. This may lead to:

  • persistent tiredness or fatigue
  • an increased risk of infections
  • excessive bleeding  such as nosebleedsheavy periods and spots of blood under the skin

When to seek medical advice

See your GP if you have any of the above symptoms, particularly if you have persistently swollen glands with no other signs of infection.

While the symptoms are unlikely to be caused by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, it's best to get them checked out.

Page last reviewed: 03/11/2015

Next review due: 03/11/2017