Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in a person’s lymphatic system.
The disease starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes and can affect adults and children.
Cancer cells can spread through the lymphatic system to other lymph nodes, or to other organs by travelling in the bloodstream.
In the UK, more than 13,000 people are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma each year and is the sixth most common cancer in the UK.
Although a serious condition, it does have a relatively promising outlook if symptoms are spotted early.
With this in mind, what are the early warning signs including lesser-known indications to look out for?
“There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma depending on which type of lymphocyte is affected (B cell or T cell) and whether the grade is low (slow growing) or high (fast growing),” says The Royal Marsden.
“It is only possible to tell the type by looking at the lymphoma cells under a microscope.”
The cause to the disease remains unknown by health experts however, those with a poor immune system are said to be at higher risk of developing the disease.
Body parts affected by non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Lymphoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
It can start anywhere in the body where lymph tissue is found, with the following body parts being affected:
- Lymph nodes
- Bone marrow
- Adenoids and tonsils
- Digestive tract.
Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
“The most common is a swollen lymph node, usually in your armpit, groin, or neck,” says WebMD.
It added: “But these can be painless and easy to overlook.
“Lymph nodes can also swell when you’re fighting an infection, so they’re easy to shrug off.”
The health site added that other lesser-known symptoms may include “a fever that won’t go away, night sweats that soak your clothes, and weight loss for no reason, and you may be extremely tired”.
Widespread itching is another uncommon warning symptom to be aware of.
Itching in lymphoma is said to occur because of the body’s reaction to chemicals released by the immune system in reaction to the lymphoma.
These chemicals irritate the nerves in your skin and make it itch.
Treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Chemotherapy is the more common treatment method for the disease which actress Jane Fonda is currently undergoing after announcing her diagnosis back in September of this year.
“If non-Hodgkin lymphoma doesn’t get better with initial treatment, you may have a course of chemotherapy at a stronger dose,” adds the NHS.
Other treatment methods include radiotherapy, monoclonal antibody therapy or steroid medicine.