top of page

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Talk to me.

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, which consists of glands and vessels throughout the body that make up part of the immune system. In most types of lymphomas, the cancer starts in the white blood cells, however in Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the cancer starts elsewhere.

 

Even though Non-Hodgkin's lyphoma is common and is the 7th most common cancer among people in the United States, it has a high survival rate. This is true for those who have an advanced stage of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well.

Who's most at risk?

 

Men are more likely to be diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as

  • caucasians
  • farmers
  • those with genetic mutations
  • those with weakened immune systems, such as people living with HIV

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can start in the

  • bone marrow - spongy tissue inside bones
  • spleen - organ to the left of the abdomen
  • thymus - gland in the middle of the chest
  • lymph nodes - glands throughout the body

 

There are 5 types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma including

  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • cutaneous B-cell lymphoma
  • cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is also defined by how quickly the cancer spreads, ranging from low-grade (grows slowly), to high-grade (grows quickly).

 

The types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that are low grade including

  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • mucosa-associated lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • mantle cell lymphoma

 

Those that are intermedate grade that grow at an average speed include

  • diffuse large cell lymphoma
  • primary mediastinal large cell lymphoma
  • anaplastic large cell lymphoma

 

Those that are high-grade and therefore spread at a very fast rate include Burkitt's lymphoma and lymphoblastic lymphoma.

 

Diagnosis

 

To diagnose Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma doctors will first do a physical exam to check for swollen glands, follwed by blood and urine tests. Blood and urine tests for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are only used to rule out any other infections or diseases that could be causing swollen lymph nodes (glands).

 

After this the medical professional may choose to do an imaging scan, such as an x-ray, CT, MRI or PET scan. If the scan comes back abnormal, the doctor may then choose to perform both a lymph node test and a bone marrow test in which both a lymph node and the bone marrow are sampled to be see if there are any Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells in these areas inside the body.

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has standard cancer staging of stages 1-4 in roman numerals, however it is also classified with A or B as well. A indicates that you do not currently have any significant symptoms, while B indicates that you may have significant symptoms such as as fever that won't go away, unintentional weight loss and sweating throughout the night.

 

Because there are so many types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, it is important to use an experienced doctor in idenitifying lymphomas and to get second opinions. In the past lymphomas have been a type of cancer that have had a lot of misdiagnoses.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma will depend on your case. For some of the types, especially those that are slow growing, do not always need treatment right away. Instead you may choose to monitor the cancer and watch to see if it spreads.

 

If you do require treatment, you might be given chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. Bone marrow therapy, also called stem cell therapy, may also be used along with chemo or radiation in which healthy stem cells are remove from your body or from a donor who is a bone marrow match, and then chemo or radiation is used to kill the unhealthy bone marrow before injecting the healthy stem cells into your body to regrow new, healthy bone marrow.

 

Lastly, there are targeted drug therapy solutions in which certain drugs can identify cancer cells for your immune system to kill off. This might be considered if your body isn't responding to other treatment.

 

Talk to me.

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, which consists of glands and vessels throughout the body that make up part of the immune system. In most types of lymphomas, the cancer starts in the white blood cells, however in Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the cancer starts elsewhere.

 

Even though Non-Hodgkin's lyphoma is common and is the 7th most common cancer among people in the United States, it has a high survival rate. This is true for those who have an advanced stage of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well.

Graphic representation of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Who's most at risk?

 

Men are more likely to be diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as

  • caucasians
  • farmers
  • those with genetic mutations
  • those with weakened immune systems, such as people living with HIV

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can start in the

  • bone marrow - spongy tissue inside bones
  • spleen - organ to the left of the abdomen
  • thymus - gland in the middle of the chest
  • lymph nodes - glands throughout the body

 

There are 5 types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma including

  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • cutaneous B-cell lymphoma
  • cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is also defined by how quickly the cancer spreads, ranging from low-grade (grows slowly), to high-grade (grows quickly).

 

The types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that are low grade including

  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • mucosa-associated lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • mantle cell lymphoma

 

Those that are intermedate grade that grow at an average speed include

  • diffuse large cell lymphoma
  • primary mediastinal large cell lymphoma
  • anaplastic large cell lymphoma

 

Those that are high-grade and therefore spread at a very fast rate include Burkitt's lymphoma and lymphoblastic lymphoma.

 

Diagnosis

 

To diagnose Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma doctors will first do a physical exam to check for swollen glands, follwed by blood and urine tests. Blood and urine tests for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are only used to rule out any other infections or diseases that could be causing swollen lymph nodes (glands).

 

After this the medical professional may choose to do an imaging scan, such as an x-ray, CT, MRI or PET scan. If the scan comes back abnormal, the doctor may then choose to perform both a lymph node test and a bone marrow test in which both a lymph node and the bone marrow are sampled to be see if there are any Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells in these areas inside the body.

 

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has standard cancer staging of stages 1-4 in roman numerals, however it is also classified with A or B as well. A indicates that you do not currently have any significant symptoms, while B indicates that you may have significant symptoms such as as fever that won't go away, unintentional weight loss and sweating throughout the night.

 

Because there are so many types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, it is important to use an experienced doctor in idenitifying lymphomas and to get second opinions. In the past lymphomas have been a type of cancer that have had a lot of misdiagnoses.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma will depend on your case. For some of the types, especially those that are slow growing, do not always need treatment right away. Instead you may choose to monitor the cancer and watch to see if it spreads.

 

If you do require treatment, you might be given chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. Bone marrow therapy, also called stem cell therapy, may also be used along with chemo or radiation in which healthy stem cells are remove from your body or from a donor who is a bone marrow match, and then chemo or radiation is used to kill the unhealthy bone marrow before injecting the healthy stem cells into your body to regrow new, healthy bone marrow.

 

Lastly, there are targeted drug therapy solutions in which certain drugs can identify cancer cells for your immune system to kill off. This might be considered if your body isn't responding to other treatment.

 

Symptom list:

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

piggy-bank.png

Financial support

Not all of us are able to afford the treatment we need. Search your insurance coverage, or check out what charities may be able to offer you for your condition.

p.s. Just because you have insurance, that doesn't mean that charities or other organizations are not able to support you too.

Emotional support

Whether it's a free counseling session or to find someone with a similar diagnosis, these Germie approved charities might be able to help. Click to explore their offerings!

bottom of page