Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the immune system, which fights infections and other diseases.
What is lymphoma?
Lymphomas are types of blood cancer that affect your lymphatic system—part of the immune system. There are two main types: Hodgkin disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Who develops non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
Certain risk factors make increase the odds of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including:
a weakened immune system
being over age 60
infections such as HIV, Epstein-Barr, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 and hepatitis C
What are the symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may not cause any symptoms; if it does, they may include:
breathing issues, coughing, chest pain
fatigue and weakness
feeling of fullness, pain or swelling in the abdomen
severe night sweats
swollen, painless lymph nodes (particularly the neck, armpits or groin)
unexplained weight loss
Many of these symptoms can also be associated with other illnesses. For proper diagnosis, see your physician if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed?
If you’re exhibiting symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (often, swollen lymph nodes are the first sign), your provider will perform a physical exam, checking for swollen lymph nodes, as well as swollen a spleen or liver. He or she may also order blood tests, chest X-rays and biopsy (a procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope) to further analyze the lymph node.
How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated?
Treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies depending on a variety of factors, including the type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, its stage, how quickly the cancer is progressing and your age and individual health. Treatment may include radiation, chemotherapy, biological therapy and stem cell transplantation. Your physician can determine the best treatment for you.
To learn more about cancer services at The Daniel and Gloria Blumenthal Cancer Center, call 201-634-5707.