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Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (also known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, NHL, or sometimes just lymphoma) is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system.1


Lymphoma affects the body’s lymph system (also known as the lymphatic system). The lymph system is part of the immune system, which helps fight infections and some other diseases. It also helps fluids move through the body. Lymphomas can start anywhere in the body where lymph tissue is found. The major sites of lymph tissue are lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, thymus, adenoids and tonsils and digestive tract.1



There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), so classifying it can be quite confusing (even for doctors). Several different systems have been used, but the most recent system is the World Health Organization (WHO) classification. The WHO system groups lymphomas based on:1


  • The type of lymphocyte the lymphoma starts in
  • How the lymphoma looks under a microscope
  • The chromosome features of the lymphoma cells
  • The presence of certain proteins on the surface of the cancer cells1



Some common signs and symptoms include:2


  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Swollen abdomen (belly)
  • Feeling full after only a small amount of food
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Shortness of breath or cough
  • Severe or frequent infections
  • Easy bruising or bleeding2


Some people with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma have what are known as B symptoms:2


  • Fever (which can come and go over several days or weeks) without an infection
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Weight loss without trying (at least 10% of body weight over 6 months)2


Causes and Risk Factors

Researchers have found that non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is linked with a number of risk factors, but the cause of most lymphomas is not known.2


  • Age: 60 years of age and older
  • Gender: NHL is higher in men than in women
  • Race, ethnicity, and geography: Worldwide, NHL is more common in developed countries, with the United States and Europe having some of the highest rates.
  • Family History: Having a first degree relative (parent, child, sibling) with NHL increases the risk of developing NHL.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals and drugs
  • Radiation exposure
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Certain infections
  • Body weight and diet
  • Breast implants3


Mantle Cell Lymphoma | CELL-DYN Ruby
1. What Is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
2. Signs and Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
3. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk Factors.
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