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Symptoms - Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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.

But 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.

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, swollen tonsils, a lump in the tummy, or skin rashes).

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 get medical advice

See a GP if you have any of the symptoms on this page, particularly if you have swollen glands that do not go away after 6 weeks.

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

Page last reviewed: 20 June 2022
Next review due: 20 June 2025