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Blood Cancers

Lymphoma Cancer Prognosis, Diagnosis, Causes, Stages, and Signs

It is estimated that 74,490 men and women will be diagnosed with lymphoma each year in the United States.

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in cells of the immune system, and includes Hodgkin's lymphomas and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

Lymphomas are the most common form of cancer in teens and young adults (age 15 to 19).

Risk Factors and Symptoms

Most of the factors that cause lymphoma are currently unknown, but studies have found some factors that are associated with a raised risk of developing the disease.

Age – Lymphomas can appear in people of any age. However, Hodgkin's lymphoma tends to primarily affect people from ages 15 to 35, or 55 and older. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma affects mainly adults 60 or older.

Weakened immune system – Having low immune functioning due to a medical condition, or as a result of drugs (for instance, those used in organ transplantation), increases one's chances of developing lymphoma.

Certain viruses – Carrying viruses such as Epstein-Barr or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been found to increase the risk of developing lymphoma.

It is also possible that other factors, such as workplace exposure to certain substances (herbicides, insecticides, or wood dust), or obesity may increase the risk of lymphoma. However, these associations are still being studied by researchers and may or may not be risk factors.

What are symptoms of lymphoma?

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's lymphomas are similar. Symptoms are not immediately obvious and may be mistaken for a severe cold or flu.

Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing, trouble breathing, or chest pain
  • Fever
  • Soaking night sweats
  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and tiredness that doesn't go away

More about Lymphoma

Learn more about non-Hodgkin lymphoma from the National Cancer Institute.

Learn more about Hodgkin lymphoma from the National Cancer Institute.

Schedule an Appointment at UPMC CancerCenter

There are two ways to schedule an appointment at UPMC CancerCenter:

  1. Fill out the UPMC Request an Appointment Form online.
  2. Call 412-647-2811.

If you have an immediate medical need, please call 911 or go to an emergency room for treatment.