Despite a number of classical symptoms that occur on presentation of NHL, it can be a difficult condition to diagnose. NHL has been reported in most sites of the body, and many of the symptoms are similar to common symptoms associated with non-serious conditions such as influenza and infections.6
Low grade or indolent NHL usually presents with painless swelling of the lymph nodes and a history of intermittent lymphadenopathy.18 Bone marrow involvement is common and may be associated with cytopenias.19 Splenomegaly is seen in approximately 30% to 40% of cases.19
In aggressive (intermediate) grade NHL, fatigue, weakness, and lymphadenopathy are also common. Approximately 30% to 40% of individuals also have B symptoms, which may be associated with more advanced or aggressive disease. These include:18, 19
- unexplained fever
- unintentional loss of greater than 10% of body weight in the six months before diagnosis
- drenching night sweats.
Individuals with aggressive B-cell lymphomas present with large abdominal or mediastinal masses. Other less common symptoms include:6
- nausea and vomiting
- susceptibility to infections.
There are no specific screening tests for lymphoma. For individuals at risk of immunodeficiency-associated lymphoma, surveillance is recommended.20
Case study: meet Arthur
Arthur is a 78-year-old-male who has recently been diagnosed with NHL.
Watch Arthur's first video and then work through the learning activities. Use your notebook at the top of the screen to answer the learning activity questions and record your thoughts.
Arthur’s Story 1: Meet Arthur
Discuss strategies and resources that may improve the awareness of the symptoms of lymphoma among primary care colleagues caring for Arthur.
Identify symptoms Arthur described which may relate to a diagnosis of NHL.
Describe the pathophysiological basis to Arthur's symptoms in relation to NHL.
Discuss other potential causes for Arthur's symptoms.