Lymphomas are cancers that cause the cells in the lymphatic or immune system to start growing abnormally.
These cancers usually start in the cells of the lymph nodes, which are small masses of tissue that form the immune system. Scattered throughout the body, the lymph nodes act as filters and immune monitors.
There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma (also called Hodgkin's disease) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma is marked by the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell and spreads in an orderly manner from one group of lymph nodes to another. There are two major types:
- Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Nodular Lymphocyte-Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma
Symptoms include the painless enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen or other immune tissue; fever; weight loss; fatigue; or night sweats.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is one of the most common cancers in the United States, accounting for about 4 percent of all cancers.
NHL is a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells and spreads through the lymphatic system in a non-orderly manner. Common symptoms for non-Hodgkin lymphomas include enlarged lymph nodes, fever and weight loss.
The many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types. These lymphomas are formed from two types of white blood cells (lymphocytes): B-cells or T-cells.
- B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL); diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; follicular lymphoma; immunoblastic large cell lymphoma; precursor B-lymphoblastic lymphoma; and mantle cell lymphoma.
Lymphomas that occur after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation are usually B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
- T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include mycosis fungoides, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma.