World Lymphoma Awareness Day: Is it Possible to Have Lymphoma Without Knowing?

Certain illnesses, including lymphoma, can remain hidden for a significant period without exhibiting obvious signs or symptoms. Lymphoma, in particular, can be a condition that individuals may have without realising it.

It is possible to have lymphoma without knowing as low-grade lymphoma can progress slowly and often without noticeable symptoms. This means that individuals may live with lymphoma without being aware of its presence. Even in more aggressive forms of lymphoma, some patients may not experience initial symptoms until the tumour has reached an advanced stage.

In addition, there are certain conditions that can be mistaken for lymphoma. Generalised swelling of lymph glands can be due to conditions other than Lymphoma. This could be due to an infection such as TB, generalised inflammation (from an autoimmune disorder), or even a drug reaction. Hence a detailed general assessment is required to confirm a diagnosis of Lymphoma.

In this article, we will explore the potential causes of lymphoma and discuss common signs and symptoms associated with the condition. Understanding the underlying factors that can contribute to lymphoma and being aware of the signs can help individuals recognise potential warning signs and seek appropriate medical attention.


What Could Cause Lymphoma?

Unfortunately, the cause of Lymphoma is often unknown in the majority of Lymphomas. Some Lymphomas can be triggered by prior infection and inflammation, such as H. Pylori infections which are implicated in gastric MALT Lymphoma, or EBV infection in certain other forms of Lymphoma.

Prior exposure to substances such as cancer-causing agents or radiation can also be a cause in some patients diagnosed with Lymphoma.

Patients often also ask if stress can cause lymphoma. However, within the existing studies and research surrounding Lymphoma, there is not enough clear evidence to determine if stress is responsible for or worsens Lymphoma.


Symptoms To Look Out For

Recognising the potential symptoms of lymphoma is crucial for early detection and effective treatment. While these signs can be subtle, it is important not to ignore them.

Some of the most common first signs of Lymphoma include painless swellings in the neck, armpits, or groin, persistent fatigue, and night sweats. 

Patients may also report shortness of breath and unexplained weight loss as some of the first signs of Lymphoma.


Seeking Advice

Lymphoma is not hard to diagnose and in the majority of suspected cases, a detailed disease and workout will establish the diagnosis of Lymphoma. A Lymphoma diagnosis is usually confirmed through a detailed clinical assessment, blood tests, a PET-CT scan, and a biopsy of the affected lymph nodes. In many patients, a bone marrow evaluation will also be performed as part of staging to assess whether there is Lymphoma involvement in the bone marrow.

If you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice to determine whether further investigations are necessary. Contact our team at CFCH to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced doctors who can provide the guidance and assistance you need. Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and we are here to support you on your journey towards better health.

The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

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Posted by CFCH