Screening tests or exams are used to look for a disease in people who have no symptoms. At this time, there are no widely recommended screening tests for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). This is because no screening test has been shown to lower the risk of dying from this cancer. Still, in some cases lymphoma can be found early.
The best way to find lymphoma early is to pay attention to possible signs and symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, causing a lump or bump under the skin which is usually not painful. This is most often on the side of the neck, in the armpit, or in the groin.
Other symptoms can include fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss, feeling tired, and swelling in the abdomen. More often these symptoms are caused by something other than lymphoma, but it’s important to have them checked by a doctor, especially if they don’t go away or get worse.
Careful, regular medical check-ups are important for people with known risk factors for NHL (such as HIV infections, organ transplants, autoimmune disease, or prior cancer treatment). These people do not often get lymphoma, but they and their doctors should be aware of possible symptoms and signs of lymphoma.
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Freedman AS, Jacobson CA, Mauch P, Aster JC. Chapter 103: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015.
Roschewski MJ, Wilson WH. Chapter 106: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2014.
Last Revised: August 1, 2018