Symptoms associated with lymphoma are frequent in other diseases as well, but their presence may lead a physician to conduct exams to confirm or exclude the diagnosis. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the lymph system, which is an important part of the immune system. Due to the similarity of symptoms, it may be difficult to diagnose, which explains the importance of being aware of the first signs. The most common symptom of the disease is painless swelling in a lymph node or nodes, which is called lymphadenopathy.
The swelling may be unnoticeable while another common symptom is a feeling of a cold that does not disappear. Night sweats, chills or fevers, unexpected weight loss, loss of appetite, lack of energy or tiredness, itching or rash, coughing, difficulties in breathing, enlarged tonsils, or headaches are also lymphoma symptoms. In order to make a diagnosis, physicians will conduct a series of medical exams, including the following ones:
1. Complete Physical Examination for Lymphoma Diagnosis
Physicians usually start by asking the patient’s medical history, as well as conducting a complete physical exam. The patient is asked not only about symptoms, but also about eventual risk factors, family history, and other illnesses. The physical examination is particularly focused on the lymph nodes, in search for swellings, and other parts of the body that may be affected, such as the spleen or the liver. The physician usually seeks infections that may explain the swellings, and if he suspects the patient is suffering from lymphoma, a biopsy is the most common diagnosis method.