Can flu-like symptoms be the same as symptoms for lymphoma? Doctors answer

Updated on Sep 18, 2022 05:09 PM IST

Painless swelling of lymph nodes in one’s neck, armpits or groin may be one of the many symptoms of Lymphoma. However, can flu-like symptoms also be the same as symptoms for lymphoma? Here's what doctors have to say

Can flu-like symptoms be the same as symptoms for lymphoma? Doctors answer(Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay )
Can flu-like symptoms be the same as symptoms for lymphoma? Doctors answer(Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay )
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Lymphoma usually presents with generalised swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, chest, abdomen and they may present with constitutional symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, low grade fever, sweating. Significant weight loss means patient has lost 10% of body weight from the baseline in a span of 3 to 6 months of duration hence, an unusual and unintentional weight loss could be a sign of malignancy like Lymphoma.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer where lymphomas are broadly classified into two types: Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and Hodgkins Lymphoma but the aetiology is unknown and idiopathic. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shweta Bansal, Pediatric Hematologist, Oncologist and BMT Physician at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, pointed out, “Sudden weight loss is the significant sign and can be indicative of serious underlying diseases like malignancies, especially lymphoma. Sudden weight loss is considered with there is >=10% weight loss which is unexpected and unintentional over a period 4-6 months.”

She added, “There is the release of cytokines from the malignant cells which causes or induces catabolism that puts body into a negative energy state leading to weight loss. In lymphoma, it may be accompanied by night sweats, fever, loss of appetite, itching in the palms, or rashes on the body These symptoms should not be ignored and should be properly investigated.”

Clearing that flu like symptoms are not the same as symptoms of lymphoma, Dr Preetam Kumar Jain, Senior Consultant Oncologist and Hematologist at Masina Hospital in Mumbai's Byculla, revealed, “It has been implicated that causes like, genetic mutations, post infections may lead to Lymphoma. However, majority of the causes are idiopathic in nature.”

She assured, “Lymphoma is completely curable, especially if diagnosed early and taken treatment. The treatment intent is curative in nature. Treatment like Chemotherapy, Targeted therapy, Precision therapy and stem cell transplant can completely cure the lymphoma. Advanced stages and poor prognostic factors of lymphoma may be refractory to the standard treatment. Double hit lymphoma, Triple hit lymphoma and some other aggressive lymphomas needs to be identified and prognosis to be explained.”

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