There are two basic types of Castleman disease:

  • Unicentric Castleman disease. This localized form of the disease affects only a single gland (lymph node) in your lymphatic system.
  • Multicentric Castleman disease. This type affects multiple lymph nodes and lymphatic tissues, and can severely weaken your immune system.

Multicentric Castleman disease can be further classified as:

  • Multicentric Castleman disease without POEMS syndrome
  • Multicentric Castleman disease with POEMS syndrome that involves areas of abnormal bone (osteosclerotic lesions)
  • Multicentric Castleman disease with POEMS syndrome without osteosclerotic lesions

Unicentric Castleman disease

Many people with unicentric Castleman disease don't notice any signs or symptoms. The diseased lymph node is usually located in the chest, neck or abdomen. When signs and symptoms are present, they may include:

  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the chest or abdomen that can cause difficulty breathing or eating
  • An enlarged lump under the skin in the neck, groin or armpit
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Less commonly, fever, night sweats and weakness

Multicentric Castleman disease

Most people with multicentric Castleman disease experience:

  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes, usually around the neck, collarbone, underarm and groin areas
  • Enlarged liver or spleen

Other, less common symptoms include:

  • Nerve damage in the hands and feet that leads to numbness (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Skin rash

When to see a doctor

If you notice an enlarged lymph node on the side of your neck or in your underarm, collarbone or groin area, talk to your doctor. Also call your doctor if you experience a persistent feeling of fullness in your chest or abdomen, fever, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss.

Aug. 27, 2014

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