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Woman with swollen lymph nodes, a sign of hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects B cells in the lymphatic system—a part of the immune system that circulates lymph fluid throughout the body. While Hodgkin lymphoma can manifest differently from person to person, the first sign of this cancer is usually swollen lymph nodes along the side of the neck, in the underarms, above the collarbone or around the groin area. A swollen lymph node presents as a lump or bump underneath the skin that is usually painless, although it can sometimes feel tender to the touch.  

Other warning signs of Hodgkin lymphoma

Some people with Hodgkin lymphoma feel perfectly fine and don’t experience symptoms in the early stages of disease. As the cancer progresses, though, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Fever
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Intense night sweats
  • Increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol, including worsening lymph node tenderness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing or chest pain

Many signs of Hodgkin lymphoma—including swollen lymph nodes—are much more commonly associated with everyday illnesses like colds and the flu. However, only a physician can identify the cause of new or unusual symptoms and prescribe appropriate treatment. People who experience possible signs of Hodgkin lymphoma should promptly be evaluated by a medical professional, particularly if they have a weakened immune system or a family history of lymphoma.

Advanced diagnostic services at Moffitt Cancer Center  

Moffitt Cancer Center’s Malignant Hematology Program is home to a multispecialty team that excels in Hodgkin lymphoma diagnostics and treatment. If you’d like to consult with a Moffitt physician about your symptoms or risk factors for lymphoma, submit a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488 . As Florida’s top cancer hospital, Moffitt prioritizes rapid response times and easily accessible care.