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Alternative namesLymphoma - non-Hodgkin's; Lymphocytic lymphoma; Histiocytic lymphoma; Lymphoblastic lymphoma; Cancer - non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
DefinitionNon-Hodgkin's lymphomas are cancers of lymphoid tissue (lymph nodes, spleen, and other organs of the immune system).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can be slow-growing ("low-grade") or rapidly growing ("high-grade") cancer . For most patients, the cause is unknown, but lymphomas can develop in people with a suppressed immune system, such as after organ transplantation.
The tumors are graded according to their level of malignancy (aggressiveness)-- low grade, intermediate grade or high grade. Burkitt's tumor is an example of a high grade lymphoma . Non-Hodgkin's tumors occur more frequently than Hodgkin's lymphoma .
Most often non-Hodgkin's lymphomas affect people older than 50. High-risk groups include organ transplant recipients and immunosuppressed people. The incidence is 3 in 10,000 people.
Signs and tests
Tests that may indicate non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include:
A staging evaluation (tumor staging) to determine the extent of the disease includes:
This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:
TreatmentTreatment depends upon the stage of the disease. Low-grade disease may just need to be observed with no treatment until it causes problems (early treatment is not more effective). When treatment becomes necessary, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be used. Patients with more aggressive or resistant disease may require more intensive treatment. High-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow transplantation may be a treatment option in selected cases.
Support GroupsThe stress of illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See cancer - support group .
Expectations (prognosis)The average survival is 6 to 8 years for patients with low-grade lymphoma . The outcome for patients with high-grade lymphoma depends upon the response to chemotherapy or other treatment and the type of high-grade lymphoma. About 30% of adults with high-grade lymphoma are permanently cured.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if symptoms of this disorder develop.
If you have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, call your health care provider if you experience persistent fever or other signs of infection.
Update Date: 8/4/2002Scott Howard, M.D., M.S., Memphis, TN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT