Don’t Horse Around with Lymphoma

Lymphoma Canada and PONIES 24-7, are working together to raise awareness about lymphoma.

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Did you know that both humans and horses can contract lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects your lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell that is a major part of your lymphatic system. Together, with other cells of the immune system, they work to fight infection and prevent disease.

Because of the common nature of many of the signs and symptoms of lymphoma, it can often go unnoticed.

The most common symptom is a painless swelling in a lymph node (called lymphadenopathy). The neck or armpits are common places where swelling is often noticed first, but this can occur in other parts of the body including the groin (which may lead to swelling in the legs or ankles) or the abdomen (which can lead to cramping and bloating). Some lymphoma patients notice no swelling at all while others may complain of night sweats, weight loss, chills, a lack of energy, or itching. There is usually no pain involved, especially when the lymphoma is in the early stage of development.

The symptoms of lymphoma are commonly seen in other, less serious illnesses, such as influenza or other viral infections. These symptoms are often overlooked, but in cases of less serious illnesses, they would not last very long. With lymphoma, these symptoms persist over time and cannot be explained by an infection or another disease. The checklist below lists the most common symptoms of lymphoma.

Initial Symptoms of Lymphoma

Painless swelling in the upper body lymph nodes, i.e., the neck, collarbone region, armpits, or groin. (A swollen lymph node is normally NOT as painful as an infected lymph node, which is common and can be painful.) This checklist includes the most common symptoms of lymphoma:

  • Chills/temperature swings
  • Fevers (especially at night)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual tiredness/lack of energy
  • Persistent coughing
  • Breathlessness
  • Persistent itch all over the body without an apparent cause or rash
  • General fatigue
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Headache.

Symptoms of Advanced Lymphoma

More advanced lymphoma may present with the following symptoms:

  • In certain instances, people feel pain in the lymph nodes after drinking alcohol.
  • If the lymphoma involves lymphatic tissue within the abdomen, bowel or stomach, fluid may build up causing swelling near the intestines, potentially leading to sensations of abdominal pressure, pain, diarrhea and/or indigestion.
  • The enlarged lymph node sometimes causes other symptoms by pressing against a vein (causing swelling of an arm or leg), or against a nerve (causing pain, numbness, or tingling in an arm or leg).
  • Some people experience lower back pain that is unexplained. It is thought that this may be caused by expanding lymph nodes pressing on nerves.
  • As lymphomas progress and cancerous lymphocytes spread beyond the lymphatic system, the body loses its ability to fight infection. The generalized symptoms that develop may be confused with signs of influenza, tuberculosis, other infections such as infectious mononucleosis or other cancers.

 

If you suspect that you, a family member, friend or loved one may have lymphoma, see your doctor or qualified medical professional as soon as possible. Early diagnosis makes an impact on treatment and outcome.

Lymphoma Canada and PONIES 24-7 are committed to raising funds and awareness for lymphoma. With your help, we can continue to promote early detection, assist newly diagnosed patients, and support lymphoma research.

Please consider making a donation today.