5 early signs of Hodgkin lymphoma, the cancer most affecting young people
Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the diseases for which there are no special routine screening tests. Special screening tests allow timely diagnosis of diseases that do not show any symptoms. The best way to detect this cancer early is to be aware of the symptoms that may occur in its initial stages.
The most common symptom of lymphoma is swelling or enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, causing a painful mass that can be noticed under the skin. Lymph nodes are found in many parts of the body, but they are most commonly found in the neck, armpits, or groin.
What is Hodgkin lymphoma?
Hodgkin lymphoma disease is associated with the uncontrolled proliferation of unusual B cells called Reed-Sternberg cells.
B lymphocytes are a subtype of mature white blood cells. They are produced in the bone marrow and then circulate in the blood and lymphatic system, where there is a segment of lymph nodes. They play a valuable role in immunity, particularly through the production of antibodies. In Hodgkin lymphoma, unusual B lymphocytes or Reed Sternberg cells accumulate in the lymph nodes, as well as in the spleen, bone marrow, and other organs.
The causes of Hodgkin lymphoma are not clearly defined, but certain risk factors have been reported, such as the virus responsible for mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus). Genetic factors are also influential.
This disease can occur at any age, but is more common in children and teenagers and accounts for about 30 percent of childhood malignant lymphomas.
More than 90 percent of children with Hodgkin lymphoma have a favorable course under treatment.
How is Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?
Hodgkin lymphoma is most often manifested by enlargement of the lymph nodes in the length. These nodes are not painful and their development is slow. In some cases, this is accompanied by weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, fever and itching. These symptoms are called general symptoms. Sometimes, when lymph nodes are large, they can compress adjacent organs and cause coughing or trouble breathing, for example when they are in the rib cage.
The definitive diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma is made by biopsy, that is, by taking a tissue sample from one of the unusual lymph nodes. Once the diagnosis has been made, a dissemination assessment, i.e. several examinations, is required to identify the different sites of the disease and its evolutionary stage. A PET (positron emission tomography) needs to be done as well as chest X-ray, ultrasound of the abdomen, CT scan of the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. A blood test will also be done to detect intrabody inflammation.
Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms
Among the symptoms people with Hodgkin lymphoma have are heavy night sweats or weight loss of at least 10 percent of their body load for 6 months. Fever lasting longer than a few weeks is also in the middle of symptoms.
Also, in some cases, the only symptom that can occur in Hodgkin lymphoma is always fatigue. Another factor to be aware of is itchy skin. An uncomfortable sensation is always felt, which arouses the need to scratch the skin.
Hodgkin lymphoma can always cause a cough if it affects the lymph nodes located in the chest. Difficulty breathing at night is another consequence of this disease. Some people may also have pain behind the breastbone.