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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury


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Illustration showing swollen lymph glands in a person's neck due to lymphomaLymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system.

Your lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands that carries lymph fluid. Lymph fluid contains the white blood cells that are part of your immune system and help you fight infections.

There are many different types of lymphomas, but they're all in one of two groups: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Symptoms of lymphoma

The most common symptom of lymphoma is a firm, usually painless swelling of a lymph gland (also called lymph node) usually in the neck, under the arms or in the groin.

Most gland swellings aren't due to lymphoma and are often a response to an infection such as a sore throat.

Other symptoms may include:

Other illnesses, such as viral infections, also cause these symptoms and most people who have these symptoms do not have lymphoma. But it's important to see your general practice team if you have any symptoms that do not go away.

Sometimes, lymphoma starts in the lymph nodes in deeper parts of the body, such as the abdomen (causing bloating) or the chest (causing coughing, discomfort in the chest and difficulty breathing).

Treating lymphoma

The treatment depends on several factors including the type of lymphoma you have, where it has spread within your body, your age and your general health. It may include immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy or a combination of these treatments. The treatment may also include stem cell transplant.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2023.


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