It is rare for spleen cancer to actually originate in the spleen. In most cases, the cancer spreads there from other parts of the lymphatic system. The point of the lymphatic system is to fight infections, so signs of cancer in this area tend to include flu symptoms, such as swollen glands, aches and fever. Fatigue, another common sign of cancer, is usually caused by the weakened immune system. Abdominal pain is another symptom felt by many patients, but it is such a vague symptom that it doesn't necessarily indicate spleen cancer, so this sign alone does not tend to concern patients or doctors. This type of cancer also affects the skin, which may become itchy or bruised, though the bones and joints also are often affected.
In many cases of cancer of the spleen, more than just this organ is affected; the entire lymphatic system may be impacted. The result is that patients generally do not feel well, in part because their weakened immune system may make them more susceptible to the flu and other illnesses. A fever and swollen lymph nodes are some of the main symptoms, though chills and night sweats also are common signs of this type of cancer. One of the initial cancer symptoms tends to be fatigue, which may be caused by illnesses such as the flu, or it may be the result of low blood cell counts.
Abdominal pain is common in most cases of spleen cancer, because the organ gets so large that it becomes uncomfortable for most patients. In fact, it may get so big that it presses against the stomach, greatly reducing the appetite and leading patients to lose weight unexpectedly. Of course, there are various other explanations for abdominal pain so, while many patients with this type of cancer notice this symptom, it rarely leads to the correct diagnosis. For this reason, it is usually necessary to run several tests before diagnosing patients with cancer of the lymphatic system.
Even the skin is often affected by spleen cancer. It tends to become itchy early on in the disease. The reason for this is that the infected spleen cannot properly filter toxins out of the bloodstream, so they build up, which can result in itchy, inflamed skin. Patients who scratch their skin excessively are at risk of developing an infection, but even those who do not scratch may notice that their skin bleeds and bruises more easily than before. In addition, the bones and joints tend to hurt when patients suffer from spleen cancer.