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Lymphoma: Introduction

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.

Lymphoma: Symptoms

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, loss of appetite, ...more symptoms »

Lymphoma: Treatments

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 to seek prompt medical ...more treatments »

Lymphoma: Misdiagnosis

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

Treatments for Lymphoma

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Lymphoma:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Lymphoma?

Lymphoma: Related Patient Stories

Lymphoma: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Lymphoma.

Types of Lymphoma

Curable Types of Lymphoma

Possibly curable types of Lymphoma include:

Rare Types of Lymphoma:

Rare types of Lymphoma include:

Causes of Lymphoma

Read more about causes of Lymphoma.

More information about causes of Lymphoma:

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 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 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 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 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 more »

Lymphoma: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Lymphoma

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Lymphoma:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Lymphoma, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Lymphoma: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Lymphoma

Prognosis for Lymphoma

Research about Lymphoma

Visit our research pages for current research about Lymphoma treatments.

Clinical Trials for Lymphoma

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Lymphoma include:

Statistics for Lymphoma

Lymphoma: Broader Related Topics

Lymphoma Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Lymphoma, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

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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