Castleman disease (giant lymph node hyperplasia) is a rare disorder of the lymph nodes and lymphatic tissues -- the main parts of the immune system. The condition causes an abnormal overgrowth of cells that increases the size of affected lymph nodes. It also affects how the body produces white and red blood cells, lymphocytes, platelets, and other immune system cells. Castleman disease is not cancer, but as the symptoms are extremely similar, diagnosis can be difficult.
Symptoms of Castleman disease vary, and some people experience none at all. In some cases, the individual will develop lumps under the skin at lymph node sites. These lumps can interfere with breathing if they are in the chest because they put pressure on the windpipe and other respiratory organs. Lumps in the abdomen can cause a feeling of fullness that could lead to unintentional weight loss or trouble eating. Other symptoms of Castleman disease include fever, serious infection, nausea, leg swelling, and skin rashes.
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