Merck Manual

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Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma



Difficulty breathing

Swelling of the face

Lymph nodes in the chest are enlarged.

Loss of appetite

Abdominal pain or distention from a blocked bowel or fluid in the abdomen

Lymph nodes in the abdomen are enlarged.

Lymphoma cells are blocking the flow of bile from the liver.

Decreased urine production

Lymph nodes are blocking the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder

Progressive swelling of the legs

Lymph vessels in the groin or abdomen are blocked producing lymphedema.

Weight loss



Lymphoma cells are growing in or around the small intestine.

Shortness of breath

Chest pain

Cough (indicating fluid accumulation around the lungs, called pleural effusion)

Lymph vessels in the chest are blocked.

Swelling of the face and neck

Blood vessels in the chest are blocked.

Thickened, dark, itchy areas of skin

Lymphoma cells are infiltrating the skin.

Weight loss


Night sweats

The disease is spreading throughout the body.


Shortness of breath

Pale skin (indicating anemia, or too few red blood cells)

One or more of the following occurs:

  • Bleeding into the digestive tract

  • Destruction of red blood cells by an enlarged spleen or by abnormal antibodies

  • Invasion and destruction of bone marrow by lymphoma cells

  • Inability of the bone marrow to produce enough red blood cells because it is damaged by treatment (drugs or radiation therapy)

Susceptibility to severe bacterial infections

Lymphoma cells are invading the bone marrow and lymph nodes, reducing antibody production.