What Are The Early Lymphoma Symptoms In Women?

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a serious condition.

The problem is there is no widely accepted and recommended screening test for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

No screening test has shown to lower the risk of dying from this type of cancer.

However, in some cases, the lymphoma can be found early.

The best way to determine the disease is to look at lymphoma symptoms in women.

The most common one is enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, causing a lump or bump under the skin which is usually not painful.

It can appear on the side of the neck, in the armpit, or in the groin.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the lymphoma symptoms in women.

Signs and Symptoms

lymphoma symptoms

Doctors all around the world agree on one thing: the warning lymphoma symptoms in women are very subtle.

Most common symptoms are made up of health ailments that could very well be shrugged off as minor [1].

That is why you should be careful, and if you experience more than one of the lymphoma symptoms in women, you should run to the doctor’s office [2].

Here are the symptoms that can appear in addition to the enlargement of one or more lymph nodes.

Swelling

Depending on how the body is affected by the growth of the cancer, swelling can appear, or not appear at all.

For example, when a large lymphoma is blocking the vessels that carry blood to the upper reaches of your body, expect swelling in the neck, chest, or face.

The severity of the swelling depends on the extent of the blood flow inhibitions.

Swelling can also appear in the stomach and intestines, as lymphoma can affect them as well.

Lumps

As mentioned previously, this is the most common of the lymphoma symptoms in women [3].

Enlarged lymph nodes are painless to the touch.

And that is why they are considered the most overlooked of the symptoms.

While they cause no discomfort, older adults and people at increased risk should make it a habit of performing a self-inspection once a month.

Pain

While lymph nodes are usually painless to begin with, and the disease is painless in the initial stage, some patients have said to experience severe pain.

This happens as the malignancies develop in localized areas of the body [4].

Pain symptoms manifest mostly when more than one organ is affected.

Lingering fever

Fever that is not related to cold, flu, or any similar illness should be a warning sign of something being wrong.

People with lymphoma experience many symptoms related to temperature of the body.

Fever, and dramatic swings between lower and higher temperatures are some of those.

Weight loss

As with all other forms of cancer, patients often experience unexplained weight loss.

It happens over a fairly compressed period of time.

In some cases, patients lose up to 15 pounds in a period of one month.

And the weight loss is not affected by changes to lifestyle and diet.

General feeling of weakness

As the lymphoma grows, your fatigue episodes will become more frequent and more severe [5].

The reason is cancer cells drain your body of nutrients and energy.

It becomes difficult for patients to maintain normal activity levels.

The fatigue slowly develops, and becomes a general feeling of weakness across the entire body.

Lack of appetite

One would think that the best way to counter cancer is to eat more healthy food rich in nutrients.

But as the cancer grows and spreads throughout the body, it can affect your appetite.

This is especially true when and if the lymphoma moves into the stomach and intestines.

At this point, you may not feel like eating.

Irritated skin

As the lymphoma cells grow and develop, they secrete chemical byproducts.

The result is telltale skin symptoms like acne-like lesions appearing in clusters.

As such, your skin becomes more and more irritated.

These acne-like lesions, otherwise known as papules usually develop in the parts of the body affected by the lymphoma.

Survival rate

Survival rate is a portion of people with the same type and stage of cancer still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed.

Usually, the time frame used for survival rate is five years.

The survival rate will not tell you how long will you live, but it may help you get a better understanding of how successful the treatment might be.

According to statistics, the survival rate for Hodgkin’s lymphoma are the following [6]:

  • The 5 year survival rate for people with stage 1 cancer is 90%
  • The 5 year survival rate for people with stage 2 lymphoma is 90%
  • An 80% survival rate for people with stage 3 lymphoma
  • Stage 4 lymphoma has a 5 year survival rate of about 65%

However, it is important to note that these statistics are based on the stage of the cancer when it was first diagnosed.

They do not apply to cancers that later come back or spread.

Generally speaking, the survival rate is higher for people with earlier stage cancers.

The Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

The Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not the only one manifesting lymphoma symptoms in women.

The Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer originating in the lymphatic system, and the tumors develop from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells [7].

It is more common than the general type of lymphoma, which is the Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

There are five types of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

They are:

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

The symptoms are similar as with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpits
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, and constant coughing
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you notice persistent lymphoma symptoms in women, you should check with your doctor immediately.

In most cases, doctors cannot identify the cause of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In some cases, it is an aftermath of weakened immune system.

But one thing is clear, it begins when your body produces abnormal amount of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells.

In a normal situation, your body has a cycle.

Old lymphocytes die, and your body creates new to replace the old ones.

But when you have Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the lymphocytes do not die.

Instead, they continue to grow and divide.

The lymphoma can begin either in B-cells or T-cells.

Factors that increase the risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include consumption of medications that suppress your immune system, chemicals used to kill insects and weeds, and infection with certain viruses and bacteria like HIV and Epstein-Barr infection.

Treatment for Lymphoma symptoms in women

There are three types of treatment options for women with lymphoma symptoms [8].

Those include systemic therapy, radiation therapy, or bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

In most cases, treatments are combined for maximum benefits and higher success rate.

Systemic therapy includes chemotherapy, radioimmunotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Chemotherapy is a drug or combination of drugs administered intravenously that kill cancer cells.

The problem is chemo often kills healthy cells as well [9].

Immunotherapy is used to fight B-cell NHL by stimulating your immune system to work harder.

Radioimmunotherapy delivers radiation therapy directly to tumor sites.

Radiation therapy is sometimes used as an adjunct to chemotherapy, as it can destroy localized lymphoma cells that have survived chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy does this by damaging their DNA.

Radiation is also used as an alternative for patient that cannot tolerate chemotherapy.

Bone marrow transplant is usually the best treatment for lymphoma symptoms in women.

It is combined with high dose of chemotherapy.

Because high dose of chemo damages normal cells, the procedure extracts stem cell before the treatment, and then these healthy cells are transplanted back into the body, where they restore bone marrow [10].

This way, your body can build healthy new blood cells.

Lymphoma symptoms

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Sources:

  1. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/lymphoma-hodgkin/statistics
  2. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/hodgkin-lymphoma
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16796776
  4. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/lymphoma-hodgkin/latest-research
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408518/
  6. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/hodgkin-lymphoma/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9166827
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3119124
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111977/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8926159

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