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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: 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 »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Lymphoma

Home medical tests possibly related to Lymphoma:

Lymphoma: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Lymphoma, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

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 ...Lymphoma Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Lymphoma may include:

Review further information on Lymphoma Treatments.

Medications or substances causing Lymphoma:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Lymphoma as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Lymphoma: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Lymphoma may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Lymphoma

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Lymphoma:

Lymphoma: Deaths

Read more about causes and Lymphoma deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Lymphoma

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 »

Lymphoma: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Lymphoma

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Lymphoma:

Lymphoma: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Lymphoma: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Definitions of Lymphoma:

A neoplasm of lymph tissue that is usually malignant; one of the four major types of cancer
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Malignant (clonal) proliferation of B- or T- lymphocytes which involves the lymph nodes, bone marrow and/or extranodal sites; general term for various neoplastic diseases of the lymphoid tissue.
- (Source - CRISP)

Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One kind is Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)

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 Institute of Health)

Detailed list of causes of Lymphoma

The list below shows some of the causes of Lymphoma mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Lymphoma?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Lymphoma. Of the 18 causes of Lymphoma that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 0 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 2 causes are "common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 1 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 13 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Lymphoma:

The following list of conditions have 'Lymphoma' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Lymphoma or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Lymphoma:

The following list of medical conditions have Lymphoma or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.







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Causes of Lymphoma Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Lymphoma based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Classifications of Lymphoma:

    Medical Conditions associated with Lymphoma:

    Lymph symptoms (496 causes), Lymph system symptoms (496 causes), Cancer-related symptoms (173 causes)

    Symptoms related to Lymphoma:

    Swollen lymph nodes (452 causes), Lymph symptoms (496 causes), Cancer, AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections, Bloom Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Chromosome 9, Monosomy 9p, Chédiak-Higashi syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Hyper-IgM Syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Pancreatic cancer

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Lymphoma:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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