Symptoms and diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)


The symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma can include:

  • A lump or swelling of the lymph node in your neck, armpit or groin
  • Heavy night sweats
  • High temperature or fever for no reason
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Itchy skin
  • Flu-like symptoms

As Hodgkin lymphoma can be found in different parts or organs of the body, other symptoms can include:

  • Increased risk of infections
  • Breathlessness
  • Bleeding problems including nosebleeds, bruising or heavy periods
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea


These tests can help to stage your cancer. Staging your cancer means finding out the size of the cancer and whether it has spread anywhere else in your body. Staging your cancer can help your doctor to decide on the right treatment for you. See “How is cancer diagnosed?” for more information on the above tests.

If you are worries about any symptoms you should visit your family doctor (GP) right away. If your doctor has any concerns he/she will refer you to a hospital. At the hospital you will see a specialist who might arrange more tests. You might need:

A lymph node biopsy: This is where a sample of cells from an enlarged lymph node is removed and sent to the laboratory to be looked at closely. If the enlarged node is on your neck, the cells can be taken without you having to be put asleep. If the node is deeper e.g. in your chest, you will have to be put asleep.

Other tests can include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET scan
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Learn more about the above tests

Call our National Cancer Helpline

Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm