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What are the symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?

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Quick Answer

The symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever and weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Generally, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma forms in the lymph nodes, creating tumors that develop from the overgrowth of lymphocytes. These tumors cause the swelling of the lymph nodes.

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Full Answer

In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell in the lymphatic system, do not die and continue to grow and divide, explains the Mayo Clinic. The cancer begins either in the B lymphocytes, which fight infections through producing antibodies, or the T lymphocytes, which kill foreign invaders directly. Generally, the lymphoma involves only cancerous cells in the lymph nodes, but the disease can spread to other parts of the lymphatic system, such as the vessels, tonsils, spleen and bone marrow, as well as, more rarely, to other organs.

The Mayo Clinic lists some of the risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which include immune system suppressors, viral and bacterial infections, and old age, as well as exposure to certain chemicals, such as pesticides. Treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer, and on the overall health of the patient. Some cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are indolent, meaning they are slow growing and do not require treatment for years. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant and various medications.

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