All about lymphomas …
WHAT IS IT?
- Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system.
- It can affect lymph nodes in all parts of the body.
- It can also involve other organs, such as the spleen or the bone marrow.
- Occasionally it is found in other areas of the body, such as lymphoma of the stomach.
The most common symptom of lymphoma is a painless lump or swelling in the neck, armpit or groin. Other symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating, especially at night;
- Unexplained loss of weight;
- Loss of appetite;
- Cough or breathlessness;
- Persistent itch.
- Named after Dr Thomas Hodgkin, who was the first to document the condition.
- Lymphoma is called Hodgkin’s lymphoma if Reed-Sternberg cells are found under microscopy.
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma can occur at any age, although most patients are either aged 15-35, or older than 55.
- Almost 1,500 new cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma are diagnosed each year in the UK.
- The condition affects more men than women.
- Treatment is highly effective, with most people who are affected being completely cured.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma simply means any lymphoma that is not Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
There are many different types.
- Around 9,200 cases are diagnosed each year in the UK.
- It is more common in those aged over 55, and is one of the most common cancers in those aged 75 and over.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is called high-grade when the cells appear to be dividing quickly.
- It can be known as aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Cases are more common in people aged over 50, but it can occur at any age.
- Like Hodgkin’s lymphoma, high-grade non-Hodgkin’s affects more men than women.
- It usually responds well to treatment.
- High-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas include:
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (the most common type);
- Burkitt’s lymphoma;
- Lymphoblastic lymphoma.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is called low-grade when the cells appear to be dividing slowly. Low-grade lymphoma can take a long time to develop.
- It is more common in older people.
- More men are affected than women.
- Most people have advanced low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by the time they are diagnosed. This can behave in a chronic way, sometimes active, and sometimes not.
- The low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas include:
- Follicular lymphoma (the most common type);
- Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma;
- Low-grade MALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue).