Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma?

The symptoms in Hodgkin's lymphoma can be very variable and affect different parts of your body.

Swollen lymph glands (nodes)

The most common early symptom is for one or more swollen lymph glands to develop in one area of the body. The most common affected area is one side of the neck but other areas often first affected are the armpit and groin. The swollen lymph glands tend to be painless and gradually get bigger.

A symptom which occurs in about 1 in 10 cases is pain in the affected lymph glands after drinking alcohol. If the affected lymph nodes are in the chest or tummy (abdomen), you will not be aware of them swelling in the early stages of the disease.

The most common cause of swollen lymph glands is infection. For example, it is very common to develop swollen nodes in the neck during a bout of tonsillitis. Lymphoma is an uncommon cause of swollen lymph glands. However, a lymphoma may be suspected if lymph nodes remain swollen for more than a couple of weeks or so, or if there is no obvious infection to account for the swelling.

Other symptoms

As a Hodgkin's lymphoma develops you may feel generally unwell. Various other symptoms may develop and these include:

If the lymphoma tumours become large and press on nearby parts of the body, various other symptoms can develop. For example, you may develop a cough or breathing problems if the tumour enlarges in the lymph nodes inside the chest.

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Dr Colin Tidy
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
4883 (v42)
Last Checked:
08 July 2017
Next Review:
07 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.