Symptoms & Risk Factors

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Symptoms & Risk Factors

The symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma also can be caused by other conditions that are not related to cancer. See a doctor if you have symptoms that concern you.


Symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:

  • Painless swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, groin, chest, or abdomen
  • Unexplained fever, weight loss, or night sweats—sometimes called “B symptoms”
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling in the face, neck, or upper chest caused by lymphoma pressing on the major vein that drains blood from these areas
  • Feeling of fullness in the abdomen from an enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes
  • Abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and indigestion
  • Sensitivity to alcohol or pain in the lymph nodes after having alcohol
  • Coughing, trouble breathing, or chest pain

Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually has a longer, slower onset of lymph-node symptoms compared to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For instance, a person may have some swelling for as long as a year before diagnosis.

Risk Factors

Doctors do not know what causes Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, doctors and researchers have found some risk factors that are associated with the disease. Keep in mind that most people who get the disease have none of the risk factors. And most people with the risk factors do not develop the disease.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more common in men than in women and more common in people ages 15 to 35 or over the age of 50.

Also, you may be at higher risk for Hodgkin’s lymphoma if any of these is true:

  • Your immune system is weakened by an inherited disease, autoimmune disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or drugs given because you had an organ transplant.
  • You have been infected with Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mononucleosis).
  • You have a brother or sister who has had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.