Lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the infection-fighting lymphatic system, which is a part of the body’s immune system. This system includes the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and other organs. The exact cause of lymphoma is unknown, but genetic predisposition, autoimmune disorders, and exposure to certain chemicals are some risk factors. While it is treatable, here are some silent signs of lymphoma that prompt one to seek medical help.
Persistent fatigue and weakness
One of the silent signs of lymphoma is persistent fatigue. Individuals may get inexplicably tired, even after sufficient and regular rest. Fatigue in lymphoma patients is often attributed to the body’s immune response, as cancer cells disrupt the normal functioning of the lymphatic system and other immune system components. This weakness may also be associated with lethargy and a noticeable drop in stamina.
Inflammation in lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are the tiny clusters of tissue that house white blood cells (WBCs) and are instrumental in fighting off infections. These lymph nodes may get inflamed due to lymphoma, and the lumps may occur in areas like the armpits, neck, or groin region. While they may be painless, it is important to get them checked by a healthcare professional as early as possible to avoid any complications.
In individuals with lymphoma, pruritus or itching, is typically not linked to any visible skin conditions. It rather arises from the release of certain chemicals by lymphoma cells affecting the skin. One must consult a healthcare practitioner if pruritus persists.
Breathing issues and chest pain
In lymphoma cases, respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath and chest pain, can arise due to the inflammation of lymph nodes in the chest. This pain can be severe and stabbing or mild and dull. While these symptoms are not exclusive to lymphoma and can be associated with various medical conditions, their presence, especially when persistent and accompanied by other signs, may prompt medical attention.
Sudden loss of body mass
Cancer cells in lymphoma tend to consume energy and nutrients to multiply abnormally, which can cause one to reduce. If one loses more than 10% of their body mass in half a year without any changes in lifestyle or eating habits, this can indicate an underlying condition needing medical attention.
The compromised immune system in lymphoma patients can make them susceptible to infections, leading to recurrent fever that doesn’t seem to subside with regular rest and medical intervention. One may also experience frequent respiratory and fungal infections, which can vary in severity and may necessitate prolonged treatments.
Individuals with lymphoma may notice a drop in their appetite or a feeling of fullness even after eating small quantities of food. This is mainly due to enlarged lymph nodes and swelling in the stomach, which may also cause a dull or persistent pain.
Night sweats refer to bed soaking and unnatural sweating during the nights that often disrupt one’s sleep. In lymphoma, night sweats may occur without any changes in one’s external environment. If they manifest frequently alongside other silent symptoms, they warrant medical attention.