Also referred to as NHL, this can describe any of a large group of cancers of the immune system. NHLs can occur at any age and are often marked by enlarged lymph nodes, fever and weight loss. There are many different types of NHL, which can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types and can be classified as either B-cell or T-cell NHL.
B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas include:
- Burkitt lymphoma
- diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
- follicular lymphoma
- immunoblastic large cell lymphoma
- precursor B-lymphoblastic lymphoma
- mantle cell lymphoma
T-cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas include:
- mycosis fungoides
- anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma
Lymphomas related to lymphoproliferative disorders following bone marrow or stem cell transplantation are usually B-cell NHLs. Prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and type of disease.
Estimated new cases and deaths from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the United States each year:
- New cases: 63,190
- Deaths: 18,660
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can cause many symptoms:
- Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Soaking night sweats
- Coughing, trouble breathing, or chest pain
- Weakness and tiredness that don't go away
- Pain, swelling, or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
If you have indolent (slow-growing) non-Hodgkin's lymphoma without symptoms, you may not need treatment for the cancer right away. The doctor watches your health closely so that treatment can start when you begin to have symptoms. Not getting cancer treatment right away is called watchful waiting.
If you have indolent lymphoma with symptoms, you will probably receive chemotherapy and biological therapy. Radiation therapy may be used for patients with Stage I or Stage II lymphoma.
If you have aggressive (fast-growing) lymphoma, the treatment is usually chemotherapy and biological therapy. Radiation therapy also may be used.
If non-Hodgkin's lymphoma comes back after treatment, doctors call this a relapse or recurrence. People whose lymphoma comes back after treatment may receive stem cell transplantation.