CNS Lymphoma Symptoms

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Central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma can cause different symptoms depending on where it is located in the body. Symptoms for primary and secondary CNS lymphoma are the same.

Symptoms of CNS Lymphoma in the Brain

CNS lymphoma in the brain causes symptoms in about three-quarters of people who have it. These symptoms include:

  • behavioral or other cognitive changes
  • headache, confusion, nausea, and vomiting (these are signs of increased pressure in the skull)
  • seizures
  • weakness
  • sensory changes, such as numbness, tingling, and pain

Symptoms of CNS Lymphoma in the Spine

CNS lymphoma in the spine or cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid around the brain and spinal cord) is less common than CNS lymphoma in the brain. When it does occur, the symptoms include:

  • sensory changes, such as numbness, tingling, and pain
  • weakness in the arms and legs
  • difficulty controlling bladder or bowel functions

Symptoms of CNS Lymphoma in the Eyes

Up to 20 percent of people with CNS lymphoma have cancer in their eyes. Symptoms for this form of the disease are uncommon. When they do occur, they are often subtle and resemble uveitis (an inflammation of the eye). The most common symptom is floaters (spots in your vision).

Infrequent Symptoms of CNS Lymphoma

Symptoms that are often seen in people with other types of lymphoma — such as fever, sweating, and unexplained weight loss — are not common in primary CNS lymphoma.

Talk to your doctor about any symptoms that are concerning.

Symptoms for CNS lymphoma that has come back may be the same or different, depending on where the cancer is located in the body.