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Lymphoma - non-Hodgkin's; NHL; B-cell lymphomas
The most common first sign of lymphomas is painless enlargement of one or more lymph node, usually in the neck, armpits, or groin. These enlarged lymph nodes may cause discomfort depending on where they are located. For example, abdominal tumors may cause stomach distention or pain, while lymph nodes in the chest may cause coughing or difficulty breathing. Patients should see their doctors if these symptoms do not go away within 2 - 3 weeks.
Sometimes patients with NHL do not experience any symptoms, or symptoms may not appear until the cancer is very advanced. Enlarged lymph nodes can also be caused by many noncancerous conditions, such as infections.
Lymphomas sometimes cause systemic symptoms -- symptoms that affect the whole body, rather than a specific location. Some systemic generalized symptoms are referred to as B symptoms. Patients who have B symptoms have a more severe condition than asymptomatic patients with the same cancer stage or tumor location or size.
B systemic symptoms include:
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