© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
People with Hodgkin lymphoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with Hodgkin lymphoma do not show any of these symptoms, or these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor. Common symptoms associated with Hodgkin lymphoma include:
- Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin area that does not go away in a few weeks
- Unexplained fever that does not go away
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats (usually drenching)
- Pruritus (generalized itching)
- Pain in the lymph nodes associated with alcohol intake
If the lymph nodes in the chest are affected, they may press on the windpipe and cause shortness of breath, cough, or chest discomfort.
The doctor may use certain symptoms to help describe the disease, called staging. Each stage may be subdivided into "A" and "B" categories.
A means that a person has not experienced B symptoms, listed below.
B means that a person has experienced the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss of more than 10% of original body weight during the six months before diagnosis
- Unexplained fever, with temperatures above 38º C (100.4º F)
- Drenching night sweats. Most patients say that either their nightclothes or the sheets on the bed are actually wet. Sometimes, heavy sweating occurs during the day.
Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.
If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.