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Cancer
 
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

 

Introduction

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphoid tissue, which includes the lymph nodes, spleen, and other organs of the immune system. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that are classified according to how fast the cancer spreads and whether it is of B cell or T cell origin. The cancer may be low grade (slow growing), intermediate grade (moderately aggressive), or high grade (aggressive or fast growing). Burkitt's tumor is an example of a high-grade B cell lymphoma. Follicular lymphoma is an example of a low-grade B cell lymphoma. Here is one classification system:

Types of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Category
Subtype
Cell Type
Slow-Growing Lymphomas and Lymphoid Leukemias
B-Cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
B

Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
B

Lymphoplasmacytoid Lymphoma
B

Follicle Center Lymphoma
B

Follicular Small Cleaved Cell
B

Follicular Mixed Cell
B

Marginal Zone B-cell Lymphoma
B

Hairy Cell Leukemia
B

Plasmacytoma/Myeloma
B

Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia
T

Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma
T

Mycosis Fungoides/SÚzary Syndrome
T
Moderately Aggressive Lymphomas and Lymphoid Leukemias
B-Cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia
B

Mantle Cell Lymphoma
B

Follicle Center Lymphoma
B

Follicular Small Cleaved Cell
B

Follicle Center Lymphoma
B

T-cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Prolymphocytic Leukemia
T

Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma
T

Angiocentric Lymphoma
T

Angioimmunoblastic Lymphoma
T
Aggressive Lymphomas
Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas
T

Intestinal T-Cell Lymphoma
T

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
T

Sézary Syndrome
T
Highly Aggressive Lymphomas and Lymphoid Leukemias
Precursor B-Lymphoblastic Leukemia/Lymphoma Burkitt's Lymphoma
B

High-Grade B-Cell Lymphoma, Burkitt's-like
B

Precursor T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma
T

Adult T-cell leukemia/Lymphoma
T

Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

There are a variety of symptoms in Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that can include: night sweats, intermittent fever and chills, itching, swollen lymph nodes and weight loss. Coughing or shortness of breath may occur if the cancer affects the thymus gland or lymph nodes in the chest. Some patients may have abdominal pain or swelling which may lead to a loss of appetite, constipation or nausea.

Diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Diagnosis for NHL usually begins with a physical exam where the doctor will check lymph nodes to feel if they are swollen. If the doctor suspects NHL, they may order one or more of the following tests: biopsy of lymph node or bone marrow, blood test to check protein levels, liver function, kidney function, and uric acid level, CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, Gallium scan or PET (positron emission tomography) scan.

If tests demonstrate the presence of NHL, additional tests will be done to see if it has spread. This is called staging.

Treatment and Prognosis of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The treatment depends on a number of variables including: the type of lymphoma, the stage, your age and state of health, and the symptoms. Typical treatments may include: radiation therapy, chemotherapy, autologous bone marrow transplant or a biological therapy drug called rituximab (Rituxan). Prognosis for NHL is variable and like the choice of treatment depends on the type of lymphoma, the stage, your age and state of health, and the symptoms you are experiencing.

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