The most common lymphatic system cancer is non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which has escalated considerable over the last twenty-five years. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma affects the lymphatic system and is actually a group of many closely connected cancers affecting the immune system and not a single disease. Broadly divided into two main groups, the most common is B-cell lymphoma and T-cell lymphomas.
When some people think of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, they believe that neck pain and lymphoma are always related but that is not true. The signs and physical symptoms patients with NHL experience are various. The most common sign experienced by people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is swollen lymph nodes. Some patients experience neck pain and lymphoma symptoms while others experience no pain at all. Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes often occur under a persons arm or arms, in their neck or various other parts of their body. In the abdomen, enlarged lymph nodes may cause back pain, swelling, a bloated feeling, or discomfort while in the groin, enlarged lymph nodes may cause the persons ankles or legs to swell.
When a patient tells his or her doctor about specific symptoms they are experiencing such as unexplained weight loss, itching, chills, neck pain, lack of energy, night sweats, and fever, the physician may feel they indicate the presence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Most people that experience no particular complaints such as neck pain and lymphoma specific symptoms often find that doctors may rule out NHL. The reason for this is that most serious illnesses persist and do not disappear and return, so non-specific complaints are not normally a non-Hodgkin lymphoma sign. Your physician should definitely check you for NHL if you have persistent symptoms.
If you have neck pain and lymphoma symptoms that suggest there may be a chance you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma, your doctor will perform a complete physical examination looking for signs such as swollen lymph nodes in the tonsil and neck area, on the elbows, in the groin and armpits, above the shoulders, and under the chin. Your doctor will also check other parts of your body looking for signs such as, fluid or swelling in your abdomen or chest that could be the result of swollen lymph nodes or enlarged internal organs in your abdomen. They will also look for any paralysis or weakness because this could indicate the presence of an enlarged lymph node pressing on the spinal cord or nerves. Your doctor will order other tests including a biopsy, x-rays, and blood tests if he or she suspects that your neck pain and lymphoma symptoms suggest you could have non-Hodgkin lymphoma.