General symptoms and signs of lymphoma
"Because symptoms are what YOU experience,
your healthcare providers can only know about your symptoms if YOU tell them.
This puts you in the unique position of being the symptoms expert."
Charles S. Cleeland, PhD, with Diana Lazzell
The symptoms or signs of lymphoma will vary depending on the type of lymphoma, how advanced it, and where the lymphoma is actively growing. New symptoms will be worrisome of course. and can be difficult to distinguish from unrelated causes, such as a new active infection.
It's important to notify our doctor about new and unexplained symptoms - especially if they persist or get worse over time. For this reason we have developed a checklist on how to report symptoms to our medical doctors.
The type of lymphoma will influence the types of symptoms that are most common. For example, gastric MALT lymphomas may present as an upset stomach; or a change in bowel movement could be caused by an enlarged lesion in the GI tract.
Systemic symptoms (or b-symptoms ) such as unexplained fever and chills are most likely to appear in advanced stages of lymphoma or when there is steady progression.
Symptoms that negative impact our quality of life is an acceptable reason to start treatment for indolent lymphoma according to GELF and NCCN guidelines for Need to Treat
Lymphoma can directly or indirectly affect our performance as it advances. Taking part in regular exercise has direct benefits - can improve our general health, fitness and help to relieve anxiety. It is also a good way to m onitor our performance, which might otherwise decline without notice. In this way we can report a decrease in our ability to do regular activities and more effectively inform your doctor, such as:
"I could walk around the block last week, but could only make it half the way today." Our doctors can interpret such reports with more confidence as we've provided a baseline that helps to gauge the significance of the change, which can guide how we are monitored. In contrast, it does not help as much if we can only report: "I feel more tired."
Symptom of Lymphoma or Unrelated?
Following a diagnosis of a lymphoma the mind often races -- we are prone to interpret each sensation as a sign of progression or
relapse. Anxiety and fear can cause or contribute to our fatigue. Please discuss such fears with your doctors who can guide you through this and provide remedies of the appropriate kind if they are needed. See also Living Well with Lymphoma
Ask your doctor for guidance on the types of symptoms that should be reported immediately and how long to monitor other symptoms to see if they may be self limiting.
Lymphoma does not commonly present as a medical emergency. Symptoms that do not get worse or become less intense over time are often not related to lymphoma. However, if you have doubts and concerns, please report your symptom by phone to your medical team.
Reporting symptoms :
"Most doctors and nurses report that one of the greatest barriers to good symptom management is a person’s unwillingness to report his or her symptoms. This silence often contributes to inadequate symptom management. Your input is a must if you are to receive the proper care for your symptoms. "
Talking to Your Doctor about Symptoms http://bit.ly/dgctDj
Your honest and timely reporting of symptoms can be as important as any test.
Be sure to record and describe pain, fatigue, bowel and kidney function, fevers, sweats. any change that is unexplained and persistent.
Patient reported symptoms (PRS) are an important part of managing lymphomas, but our accounts are admittedly subjective - can be magnified or downplayed, depending upon our temperaments. can be related or unrelated to lymphoma. so this is a problem and a common one at that.
NOTE: Sometimes our performance changes gradually and is difficult to notice. Therefore, a regular exercise program can be a good way to both improve your general health and monitor for changes, which will be more apparent when you have a regular exercise or activity program. As always, get approval from your doctor before starting an exercise program that might exceed your ability.
It can be difficult at times to identify the meaning of a symptom. Some symptoms may be common to certain stages of lymphoma and to specific treatments. Others may be explained by unrelated medical conditions, such as flu, an ulcer, a drug you are taking, or an injury you did not notice before.T he intensity using a scale of 1 to 10