The most common early sign of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is painless swelling (enlargement) of one or more lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin. Most people have affected lymph nodes in the upper part of their body, usually the neck or upper chest. Sometimes you can feel the affected lymph node in your armpit or groin.
In addition to swollen lymph nodes, other signs and symptoms of NHL include:
- Fever without an obvious cause
- Drenching sweats, especially at night
- Tiredness or no energy
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
If NHL starts in an area other than the lymph nodes, such as in bone, a lung, the digestive (gastrointestinal) tract or the skin, symptoms may include:
- Bone pain
- Chest pain
- Abdominal (stomach-area) pain
- Lumps under the skin
Some NHL symptoms are associated with other, less serious illnesses. For instance, enlarged lymph nodes can result from inflammation and are not necessarily a sign of cancer. However, if you're troubled by any of the above symptoms, see your doctor.
Sometimes, you may have no symptoms. In this case, your doctor may first notice signs, such as enlarged lymph nodes, during a routine physical exam.