Green said he was on the lookout for the possibility of getting Hodgkin lymphoma because he had mononucleosis as a child, and also has an autoimmune disease. According to the American Cancer Society, these two factors increase your risk for Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more often in males, and is more common in young adults. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is mostly found in people over 60. Exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals can increase your risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Both cancers are characterized by painless lumps under the neck or armpits, and some people might have trouble breathing or cough if the lymphoma is in the chest. People with non-Hodgkin lymphoma will also have abdominal pain or loss of appetite. They might also have personality changes, trouble with cognition, or double vision. There’s a chain for the proper diagnosis, starting with a physical exam, followed by a biopsy and blood tests (via Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).
“I tell patients that they must be patient until we assure the correct diagnosis,” Dr. Nabhan told Health Digest. “Sometimes, we might need to repeat a biopsy and get more samples of the lymph node or growth to determine accurately the actual lymphoma. This is critical, as it determines prognosis and treatment.”