Symptoms of Hodgkin’s disease may include:
- Swollen (but painless) lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
- Itching throughout body (pruritis)
- Persistent fatigue
- Coughing, difficulty breathing, or chest pain may indicate that swollen lymph nodes in the chest are pressing on the windpipe
- Unexplained weight loss of more than 10% in previous 6 months
- Persistent fever
- Drenching night sweats
The last three symptoms (weight loss, fever, and night sweats) are classified as “B symptoms.” B symptoms may be used in staging Hodgkin’s disease and can indicate that more aggressive treatment will be required.
Sometimes patients with Hodgkin’s disease do not experience any symptoms, or symptoms may not appear until the cancer is very advanced. Enlarged lymph nodes can also be caused by many noncancerous conditions, such as infections.
Review Date: 01/27/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.