Department of Medical Oncology
Each year, more than 63,000 Americans learn they have non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. The immune system fights infections and other diseases. Most people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are older than 60. Risk factors include weakened immune system, certain infections, and age.
Any of a large group of cancers of lymphocytes (white blood cells). Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur at any age and are often marked by lymph nodes that are larger than normal, fever, and weight loss. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These types can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types, and they can be formed from either B-cells or T-cells. B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, immunoblastic large cell lymphoma, precursor B-lymphoblastic lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include mycosis fungoides, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma. Lymphomas that occur after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation are usually B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and type of disease. Also called NHL.
Stage I: The lymphoma cells are in one lymph node group (such as in the neck or underarm). Or, if the abnormal cells are not in the lymph nodes, they are in only one part of a tissue or organ (such as the lung, but not the liver or bone marrow).
Stage II: The lymphoma cells are in at least two lymph node groups on the same side of (either above or below) the diaphragm. Or, the lymphoma cells are in one part of an organ and the lymph nodes near that organ (on the same side of the diaphragm). There may be lymphoma cells in other lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm.
Stage III: The lymphoma is in lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm. It also may be found in one part of a tissue or an organ near these lymph node groups.
Stage IV: Lymphoma cells are found in several parts of one or more organs or tissues (in addition to the lymph nodes). Or, it is in the liver, blood, or bone marrow.
Treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include observation, chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell transplantation.
Reference: National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/non-hodgkin