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Hi Vee, and thanks for replying...
My doctor has not brought up the additional risks of cancer with me... but my Internist once said that he wanted to biopsy my lymph nodes because they are so frequently painful and hard... but then I stopped seeing this particular doc and went mainly to my Rheumatologist. I didn't even think about it again until lately...
I had a painful lymph node in my left groin (not atypical at all, they are frequently painful and hard--sometimes it's under my arms, behind my ears, in my neck, behind my collarbones, behind my knees and up my spine) but this time it had a bright red streak coming from it, going down my leg a few inches. I didn't think much about it... But then came the night sweats again (these come and go in waves, too) and my stomach bloated up (again--this happens in waves... I used to have a VERY flat stomach--concave really--but now it's almost always bloated, just varying stages)... I started getting the low grade fevers, and got very tired... Then my gums got swollen, the sores appeared in my mouth, and joint/shoulder/bone pain began. Oh, and of course I started itching... I hate that part--so annoying! (Usually when I flare, my skin hurts to touch it, but this time it's not that way...) I chalked all of this up to a flare, but the lymph nodes are so painful now that it's like I ate a jaw breaker and my back is KILLING me. The others are just "normal painful". Some under my chin are now enlarged (this is new... they usually don't enlarge, but stay small but hard).
I did some research and found that my symptoms really do mimic those of different types of lymphoma/leukemias, and then in trying to tell myself that "this is ridiculous, it's just a flare" found out that lupus patients have a higher risk of these types of cancers, and that they can remain cyclical and active/inactive for years before being found... and that lupus patients are usually overlooked for cancer testing.
So, my trying to talk myself out of things has now raised my concerns, not only about my own strange symptoms (which I am sure are just a flare), but for others with lupus.
So, a question--do all flares look essentially the same (albeit different for each patient, but the same for each individual), but with varying degrees? Or can flares take on different forms each time?
Thanks for your input :) I really appreciate it. I usually don't ask questions at the doc (or anywhere else), as I don't want to be a burden or a "pain" or a hypochondriac... this is strange for me to bring up all of my "issues" haha. Forgive me if I sound like I'm complaining.

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