There is no national lymphoma screening programme in the UK. Yet diagnosing lymphoma in its earliest stages is key to curing it. This means that it’s important to get tested as soon as possible if you suspect you may have lymphoma.
Swollen lymph nodes, fever or night sweats, chest pain, loss in appetite and weight loss, and stomach ache are the most common lymphoma symptoms. A lymph node biopsy, that takes a sample or all of an affected lymph node is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of lymphoma. Further tests may be performed to check how far the lymphoma has spread. This can help to stage and grade your lymphoma.
At Ramsay, you can conveniently arrange to see a haematologist specialist if you are concerned about lymphoma. They will examine you and request any required diagnostic tests.
Lymphoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK. It can occur at any age including in children. The good news is that it is nearly always treatable and most people live for many years after a lymphoma diagnosis.
Lymphoma is a blood cancer. It develops when your white blood cells, called lymphocytes, grow out of control as they divide continuously before they are mature and they do not die when they should.
Lymphocytes travel around your body in your lymphatic system. They help fight infections as part of your immune system. Your lymphatic system runs throughout your body. It is similar to your blood circulatory system but it carries a fluid called lymph. Lymph fluid passes through your lymph nodes that are found throughout your body.
Lymphoma lymphocyte cells can't fight infection as normal white blood cells do. These abnormal lymphocytes usually build up in the lymph nodes of your armpits, neck or groin. They can also collect in other places such as the bone marrow or spleen. They can then grow into tumours and cause problems in your lymphatic system or in the affected organ. For example, a lymphoma in your thyroid gland can affect the normal production of thyroid hormones.
There are two main types of lymphoma. They are different diseases and treatment is different for them:
There are a number of diagnostic tests to confirm a lymphoma diagnosis.
If you are worried about lymphoma, you can visit your GP who depending on your symptoms may arrange for further tests. You can also self-refer to a haematologist at your local Ramsay hospital who will examine you and arrange further tests.
Lymph node biopsy - is usually be carried out, as this is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of lymphoma. It is a small operation that removes some or all of an affected lymph node, which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. If a biopsy confirms a diagnosis of lymphoma, further testing is required to check how far the lymphoma has spread.
Further tests may include:
Symptoms of lymphoma cancer depend on where it starts, what parts of your body it affects, and what type of lymphoma it is. Often symptoms are mild and non-specific making lymphoma difficult to diagnose from symptoms alone.
The most common symptom of lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, most typically in your neck, armpit or groin.
Other general symptoms can include:
There can be many other symptoms depending on where your lymphoma is in your body and whether enlarged lymph nodes are pressing on an organ or nerve.
Currently, there is no national screening programme for lymphoma in the UK. The reasons that regular screening is not available for the general public are that it isn't clear that lymphoma screening can save lives, the tests have risks, and some of the tests can be expensive.
It is therefore important to be aware of lymphoma symptoms. You should see your GP if you have any of the symptoms of lymphoma or you are worried about your lymphoma risk.
Ramsay has multidisciplinary teams of lymphoma experts who use the latest technologies to find out if patients have lymphoma cancer. If a patient is diagnosed with lymphoma, our haematology consultants will develop a tailored treatment plan.
There is no national screening programme for lymphoma cancer. If you have lymphoma symptoms or you think that you are at risk of this cancer, you should speak with your doctor.
At Ramsay, we offer fast access to convenient appointments for patients who are concerned about lymphoma. Your experienced and expert haematologist will perform a physical exam, discuss your medical and family history, and request any required diagnostic tests.
It’s important to speak to an expert when you are worried about lympoma cancer symptoms, our conveniently located Ramsay hospitals offer tests to diagnose lymphoma without waiting with oncology experts.