Lymphoma is a general name for a group of cancers of the blood that originate in the lymph glands. The lymph glands are organs of the immune system and are a part of the body's defense against infection and disease. Lymph glands are located throughout the body.
Lymphoma is the result of change or mutation in infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are stored in the lymph glands. This change results in an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells, which develop into malignant tumors in the lymph glands.
The cause of lymphoma is unknown. However, in some cases lymphoma develops in people who have weakened immune systems, such as in people who are on immune suppressing drugs for a organ transplant or people who have HIV or AIDS. Additionally, infections with certain other viruses and bacteria, such as Epstein-Barr virus, Helicobacter pylori, and the human T-cell lymphocytotropic virus (HTLV), are associated with the development of lymphoma.
There may also be a familial connection to developing lymphoma and certain inherited syndromes can also put people at risk for developing lymphoma.
There are more than 35 types of lymphoma. Lymphoma, specifically an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is one of the most common types of cancer and one of the top ten cancer killers. The other major type of lymphoma is Hodgkin's disease. Hodgkin's disease is less common, but is easier to treat and cure than aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Lymphoma is most treatable and curable if caught in the earliest stages of the disease. Untreated and/or advanced lymphoma results in a proliferation of abnormal white blood cells (lymphocytes) that spread throughout the lymphatic system. These abnormal cells crowd out normal white blood cells. The abnormal white blood cells are not able to fight infections as effectively as the normal white blood cells. This results in increased infections.
The abnormal white blood cells of lymphoma also crowd out red blood cells, resulting in anemia, a low number of red blood cells. The abnormal white blood cells formed in lymphoma can also accumulate in the organs of the body, such as the spleen, liver, and kidney and interfere with normal organ functioning. A swollen lymph gland or glands are typical symptoms of lymphoma. For more details on other key symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of lymphoma.
Diagnosing lymphoma begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms and risk factors for lymphoma. Diagnosis also includes completing a physical examination.
Diagnostic testing includes a blood test called a complete blood count (CBC). A complete blood count will reveal the presence of high or low numbers of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. A biopsy of the swollen lymph node is also performed. In a biopsy, an affected lymph node is removed and is examined under a microscope for the presence of the abnormal lymphoma cells. A bone marrow biopsy may also be done to determine if the bone marrow has been affected.
Staging of lymphoma is the process in which it is determined how advanced the disease is and how many areas of the body are affected. Imaging tests are generally used to help in staging. Imaging tests may include X-ray, CT scan, MRI, gallium scan or PET scan.
A diagnosis of lymphoma can be missed or delayed because some symptoms of lymphoma are similar to symptoms of other conditions. In addition, some people may not notice symptoms in early stages of some forms of lymphoma. For more information about other diseases, disorders and conditions that can mimic lymphoma, refer to misdiagnosis of lymphoma.
The prognosis for people with lymphoma varies depending on the type of lymphoma, how advanced the disease is, and other factors. For example, Hodgkin's disease that is diagnosed and treated at an early stage has an extremely high cure rate.
Treatment of lymphoma varies, depending on the specific type of lymphoma, the stage of advancement, the patient's age, health history, overall health status, and other factors. Treatment may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, and participation in clinical trials. For more details about treatment plans, refer to treatment of lymphoma. ...more »
Lymphoma: Cancer involving lymph nodes and the immune system.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Lymphoma is available below.
Symptoms of lymphoma can vary among individuals and differ depending on the specific type of lymphoma and advancement of the disease.
Symptoms include a swollen lymph gland or glands, (lymphadenopathy), which often appear fist in the neck, groin, or armpit. The swollen glands can also appear in other areas of the body.
Other symptoms of lymphoma can include malaise, ...more symptoms »
The best way to diagnose and treat lymphoma in its early stage when it is most treatable is to seek regular medical care throughout the lifetime. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to best evaluate the risks of developing lymphoma and asses symptoms, such as a swollen lymph gland, and begin prompt diagnostic testing and treatment. It is also important ...more treatments »
A diagnosis of lymphoma can be delayed or missed because some people may notice early symptoms and seek a prompt diagnosis. In addition, some symptoms of lymphoma can be vague and similar to symptoms of other diseases, conditions and disorders. These include influenza, upper respiratory infection, strep throat, mononucleosis, and leukemia. ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Lymphoma
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symptoms of Lymphoma
Treatments for Lymphoma
- Treatment of lymphoma depends upon the type of lymphoma, and the staging of the disease, as well as the age and other health problems that the patient has. Treatments include:
- more treatments...»
Read more about treatments for Lymphoma
Home Diagnostic Testing
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Wrongly Diagnosed with Lymphoma?
Lymphoma: Related Patient Stories
Read more about Deaths and Lymphoma.
Types of Lymphoma
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Curable Types of Lymphoma
Possibly curable types of Lymphoma include:
Rare Types of Lymphoma:
Rare types of Lymphoma include:
Causes of Lymphoma
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Disease Topics Related To Lymphoma
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Lymphoma:
Lymphoma: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Lymphoma
Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases,
because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms.
Although the...read more »
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed
(it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with...read more »
Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue
with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure.
The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood...read more »
Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to
consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi.
See melanoma and spitz nevi....read more »
Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be
correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients.
These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children.
See ...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Lymphoma
Lymphoma: Research Doctors & Specialists
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Hospitals & Clinics: Lymphoma
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Lymphoma: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Latest Treatments for Lymphoma
See full list of 11
latest treatments for Lymphoma
Prognosis for Lymphoma
More about prognosis of Lymphoma
Research about Lymphoma
Visit our research pages for current research about Lymphoma treatments.
Clinical Trials for Lymphoma
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Lymphoma include:
- CC-5013 in Treating Patients With Cancer That Has Not Responded to Previous Therapy - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - lenalidomide
- Chemotherapy Plus Bone Marrow Transplantation in Treating Patients With Refractory Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease, or Multiple Myeloma - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - carmustine,cyclophosphamide,cytarabine,etoposide,filgrastim,hydrocortisone,leucovorin calcium,methotrexate,perfosfamide,sargramostim
- Bryostatin-1 in Treating Patients With Recurrent Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - This study has been completed (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - bryostatin 1
- Bryostatin 1 in Treating Patients With Relapsed Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - This study has been completed (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - bryostatin 1,bryostatin 1/vincristine,vincristine
- Monoclonal Antibody Therapy in Treating Patients With Recurrent Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - This study is no longer recruiting patients (Current: 23 Nov 2006) - B43-genistein immunoconjugate
- more trials...»
See full list of 1655
Clinical Trials for Lymphoma
Statistics for Lymphoma
Lymphoma: Broader Related Topics
Types of Lymphoma
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Definitions of Lymphoma:
A neoplasm of lymph tissue that is usually malignant; one of the four major types of cancer
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
Lymphoma is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of
Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH). This means that Lymphoma, or a subtype of Lymphoma,
affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)
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