Lymphoma is a type of tumor that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes, and when it is not cancerous, it is called benign lymphoma, pseudolymphoma, or benign lymphoid hyperplasia (BLH). Benign lymphoma has symptoms that are similar to cancerous lymphomas, but it does not represent the same risk to patients’ lives and is more easily treated. Cases of death due to benign lymphoma are rare, but if not properly treated, the tumor may grow and cause discomfort as it presses on the tissue.

Lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells, are an important element of the immune system that are responsible for protecting the body against infections. Lymphoma develops when the lymphocytes start to grow and reproduce abnormally rather than dying naturally to give space for new cells. The first signs of lymphoma, benign or malignant, are usually swollen lymph nodes. Since the symptoms associated with the two types of lymphomas are similar and they look similar under a microscope, the diagnosis can be difficult.

Benign Lymphoma Development and Risk Factors

Benign tumors are lumps or growths that may appear in many parts of body. In the case of benign lymphoma, the most usual site is the lymph nodes, but it can also develop in the skin, lungs, liver, eyes, gastrointestinal tract, soft tissues, or other sites. This type of lymphoma is often indolent, which means slow-growing, and tends not to expand to the nearby tissue or other body parts, while it usually mimics the clinical actions and appearance of malignant lymphomas.

The reasons for the development of a benign lymphoma are not completely understood, but it is thought that it may be related to environmental toxins like radiation exposure, genetics, certain dietary habits, stress, local trauma or injuries, and inflammation or infections. Also, the possibility of drug-induced benign lymphomas has recently gained the attention of scientists.

Benign Lymphoma Symptoms and Diagnosis

Benign and malignant lymphomas share the same symptoms, which can be difficult to diagnose correctly. The first symptom is generally painless, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the neck, chest, and abdomen. Other symptoms including night sweats, fever, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, lack of energy or fatigues, rashes, and lower back pain. A proper diagnosis is key to defining the correct treatment for the disease.

Therefore, physicians usually conduct a series of exams to confirm the diagnosis and ensure the lymphoma is benign and not malignant. A complete physical exam and a biopsy are the first and most common tests ordered to diagnose the disease, but blood and imaging tests may also be required.

Prevalence and Treatment of Benign Lymphoma

About one in every 2,000 people worldwide suffer from benign lymphomas and they are rarely life threatening, which means that watchful waiting may be a treatment option when cases are not severe. However, it may cause problems when the swollen lymph nodes start to press on the tissue, and in more severe cases, it can evolve into a malignant lymphoma.

This is why treating the benign lymphoma is a more common decision rather than waiting and watching. Patients often undergo surgery to remove the tumor without damaging the surrounding tissue. Medication and radiation therapy may also be recommended in some cases.

Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.
Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.


  1. Brenda Kocot says:

    I was told I have Lymphoma after a polyp was removed from my colon. I had a repeat colonoscopy and a biopsy was taken in the same area as the first polyp. I was then told I have benign lymphoma.
    Is this possible and should I follow-up in some way?

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi Brenda. We can not give any medical advice on this, but will encourage you to continue to follow up with your doctor in this matter.

  2. Jennifer Zirkelbach says:

    Is it possible for some lymph nodes that were biopsied (taken from the chest) to come back as benign but for others (from the belly) to show malignancy?

  3. frank commodore says:

    Is it possible for a lymphnode to get inflamed as a result of trama, injury or stress and never return to its normal size?

  4. Reece says:

    Longish story, with questions.. I am 32 y.o. female. I had a painless lump pop up under my left arm 10/8/17. It’s swelling went down after about 2 or 3 weeks, but a cluster of lymph nodes remained thick.. (I had a lymph node pop up the night before Thanksgiving on the right side of my neck, it did the same thing. Swell up for weeks. There is a puffiness to the spot still, and one little lump. I didn’t go to a Dr at all over it, with the holidays and the fact that my armpit (i think they are related, it was the same reaction). I had a CBC and was in the normal range on 12/15/19. They did a biopsy of my armpit on 12/19/17. I got flu symptoms, (which i still have, esp chest cough) two days later. I got a call from my dr, said she had received a call from the laboratory, and they wanted to send me to a breasts doctor. She said she didn’t have my report yet, but that it was called benign from the lab. Just that it was abnormal.. The breast Dr, told me there were lymphoma cells in it. But it wouild just be observed.. i have another ultrasound scheduled for 4/26/18.. I have ran a low 99’s to 101’s (usually upper 99°- lower 100°’s) fever off and on for over a year now, i am so wildly tired. I get majorly winded sweeping my floor 🙁 lol, and i actually normally am obsessed with work. Been called names like, the little singing whirlwind lol.. My body is tired, i am not a drama queen either. I just guess i wonder what is up… or maybe like I’m not being heard..

  5. Jewels says:

    is a temporal biopsy a normal test when a spinal tap shows rare benign lymphocytes after a traumatic brain injury and optic nerve damage?

  6. Eve says:

    Hi, great article, but it doesn’t answer my question about the symtoms of benign lymphoma: will these awful symtoms ever go away or come and go or do all the tumors (in my neck and underarm) have to be removed for the symtoms of night sweats, fatigue…to go away? If you could address what are the different ways to get rid of the symtoms, which are similar to cancerous lymphoma that would be great.

  7. Daniel larkin says:

    I can feel multiple lymph nodes in both sides of groin, haven’t got bigger or smaller in a few weeks, no pain or infections. What could this be? I am aged 20

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