Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. In lymphoma, a lump or tumour forms in one or more groups of lymph nodes.
There are two main types of lymphoma:
- Hodgkin lymphoma (formerly known as Hodgkin's disease)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (formerly known as Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma)
Hodgkin lymphoma of the lymphatic system is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow and is one of the most curable forms of cancer. Haematologists and oncologists decided on the treatment which includes radiation, chemotherapy or both, depending on individual patient factors.
Hodgkin lymphoma is named for Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first noted a trend of cancer cases in the lymph nodes in 1832. The disease was called Hodgkin's disease until it was officially renamed Hodgkin lymphoma in the late 20th century.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) isn't just one disease. It's actually a diverse group of blood cancers that share a single developmental characteristic. NHL generally develops in the lymph nodes and lymphatic tissues. In some cases, NHL involves bone marrow and blood. NHL has many different subtypes which may be either indolent (slow growing) or aggressive (fast growing) and may be treated using drug and/or radiation therapy.
Main causes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Various infections increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with the highest risks linked to infection with HIV.
- Drugs given to suppress the immune system, for e.g. following organ transplant, also increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- A family history of non-Hodgkin lymphoma almost doubles risk.
- Occupational exposure to pesticides and benzene are linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.