Lymphoma: How do I know if I have it? What exactly are night sweats?

Question

I have questions about NHL. I've had a temp over a month with 99.4 being the highest,but no night sweats. What exactly are the night sweats to which you refer? is it perspiring or something more and does it always happen in NHL?

Also, swollen nodes are usually seen first above the clavicles, groin, and armpits? Could someone have them first in the chest or stomach?

First time on board, so sorry for the questions. I hope you can them. (It was necessary to shorten the multiple queries- BD)

Answer

There's really nothing in your query (which I had to shorten) to indicate that you have lymphoma. You however did raise two good questions which I want to respond to.

What exactly are night sweats? Some patients with lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease present with night sweats when they are first diagnosed. Night sweats refer to sweating during the night which is so intense that the patient needs to get out of bed to change his(her) pajamas/sleeping wear or sheets. Such night sweats can be seen in diseases other than lymphoma such as certain severe infections (e.g. TB). On occasion, I've seen patients with night sweats who end up having nothing. In these latter cases the night sweats typically last for under a week. Many many people sweat at night, however, particularly if it's hot and the air-conditioning is not working, so I would urge you not to overdiagnose this condition in yourself. Women also can develop such severe sweating as they go through menopause.

Are swollen lymph nodes usually seen above the clavicles, groin and armpits? Although it is true that these sites, particularly the groins and armpits are VERY common locations for lymph nodes, lymph nodes can pop up just about anywhere. In the setting of HIV infection, the majority of lymph nodes represent nothing more than the body trying to fight off infection. On occasion the lymph nodes can harbor tumor or opportunistic infection. We become more concerned with an individual lymph node if it is out of proportion to the other lymph nodes; if it occurs in a patient with systemic symptoms such as fever, weight loss, and night sweats (as described above); if it's in an unusual location; if it continues to grow, and so on.

Lastly, welcome to the forum