What Is Lymphoma?

By | August 16, 2015

mantle cell lymphoma

Lymphoma has its name originated from the word lymph. Lymph is the name of nodes that are present in the body. Therefore lymphoma is the cancer of lymph modes. In lymph nodes white blood cells which are also known by the name lymphocytes are produced that protect the body against infections and against foreign invaders. It is more specifically cancer of immune system as lymph nodes are part of immune system.

Types of lymphoma:

There are many types of lymphoma, however its major types are only 2 and rest of the types are its subtypes. Its types and subtypes have been classified based on the type of immune system cells they affect.

Its 2 major types are

  • Hodgkin’s.
  • non-Hodgkin’s.


In this type of lymphoma, B cells and T cells are affected. B cells and T cells are the  types of lymphocyte which are  white blood cell and they have special roles in immune system. In  US, B cell lymphomas is much more common as compare to T cell lymphoma.


In this type of lymphoma, the cancer cells usually become an abnormal type of B lymphocyte, which are named as Reed-Sternberg cells. There are much subtypes of the Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and are differentiated by differences seen under the microscope. However, very high percentage of the cases is classed as the classic Hodgkin’s.

Mantle cell lymphoma: It is also known as MCL. It is a rarely occurring disease; more specifically it is B cell NHL. It most often affects men who are over the age of 60 years. The disease may get aggressive as it is fast growing.

Symptoms of lymphoma:

Here are some of  symptoms of lymphoma disease you may have some, all or none of the symptoms if you are suffering from the disease.

  • weight loss.
  • night sweats (that soak clothing and sheets)
  • Severe infections (due to low white blood cell counts)
  • bruising or bleeding because of the low blood platelet counts.
  • Fatigue that is caused due to low red blood cell counts.
  • Anemia.
  • Fever.
  • Enlarged lymph node.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Feeling full after by eating only a small amount of food
  • Chest pain or chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath and cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Low red blood cell counts.

Causes of lymphoma:

As in our previous posts we have established the fact that for most types of the cancer exact cause of developing that cancer is still unknown. However scientists and doctors are still trying their best to know what is the cause or reason behind its being developing. During their research they have found out certain risk factors that could increase you chance of getting suffer from lymphoma. This will be discussed under next heading which is risk factors for lymphoma.

mantle cell lymphoma

Risk factors for lymphoma:

Risk factors for one major type are somewhat different from the other type.

Risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma:

Age :

In Most of the  non-Hodgkin lymphomas risk of developing the disease increases  in people who are  60 years of age and over the 60 years of age.

You Sex :

Risk of developing the lymphoma cancer in females is somewhat different from the risk of developing the disease in males.

Your Ethnicity and location:

Among  the US people, African Americans and Asian Americans are less likely to suffer from this diseases as compare to the white Americans, and this disease is more common in the developed nations of the world.

Exposure to Chemicals and radiation:

Some industrial and agricultural chemical exposure can increase your risk of developing this disease.

Immune deficiency :

Immue deficiency caused by HIV infection or by the transplantation can increase the risk of developing this disease.

Autoimmune disease:

It is disease in  which the immune system attacks the body cells.


Some viral infections and some of the bacterial infections increase the risk of developing this disease.

Risk factors for Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

Infectious mononucleosis :

Some infection with Epstein-Barr virus

Age : two groups are mostly affected: which are people in their 20s, and the people over the age of 55 years are more likely to suffer from this disease.


Males are more likely to suffer from this disease as compare to the females.

Geographical Location :

It is most common in the US, Canada and the northern Europe. However it is least common in Asia


If someone which is your family member that is he or she belongs in your family is suffering from the disease then you are more likely to suffer from the disease/

HIV infection:

If you have this infection then you are more likely to suffer from this disease.

what is lymphoma

Diagnosis of lymphoma:

Medical history and physical exam

Doctors examines you physically checks your skin, eyes and abdomen. He also takes your medical history to check whether you were suffering from some other type of cancer or not.


Most of the symptoms of non Hodgkin lymphoma are not enough to establish the fact for sure whether they are being caused by cancer or not. Most of the cancer can also be caused by  the non cancerous problems, such as infections, or by some other kinds of cancers.

For instance, enlarged lymph nodes are often caused by infections as compare to by non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is because of the reason that, doctors often prescribe antibiotics and they wait a few weeks to see if the nodes shrink or not.

If the nodes remain the same or continue to grow, the doctor may then order the biopsy. Either a small piece of the node or, most commonly, the entire node is removed for the purpose of  viewing it under the microscope and for other lab tests as well.

A biopsy may be needed if the size, texture, or even the location of the node or the presence of  some other symptoms strongly suggests cancer. However delaying the diagnosis for few weeks is not likely to be the harmful unless it is a very fast growing lymphoma.

Lab tests  biopsy samples to diagnose and classify lymphoma:

Lab tests are taken in order to diagnose the diasease. It is carried out by taking samples of tissues or bloods and then examining under the microscope. It could also be diagnosed that what stage or type of lymphoma the patient is suffering from.

Imaging tests

Following imaging tests are carried out to diagnose the disease.

Computed tomography (CT) scan

Like many other forms of cancer and some other diseases this disease that is lymphoma is also treated with the CT scan.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Like many other forms of cancer and some other diseases this disease that is lymphoma is also treated with the magnetic resonance imaging.

what is lymphoma


Like many other forms of cancer and some other diseases this disease that is lymphoma is also treated with the ultrasound where ultrasonic waves are passed through the body.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

In this type of diagnosis method  a kind of radioactive sugar which is known as fluorodeoxyglucose or FDG) is injected into the vein. Because of the reason that cancer cells in the body grow rapidly, they can absorb large amounts of this radioactive sugar.

Gallium scan

In order to carry out this type of scan, a solution that is containing a slightly radioactive element known as  gallium which is injected into a vein. In this way this type of scan is conducted.

Bone scan

For the bone scans, a radioactive substance which is called  as technetium is used. It is injected in to your vein in order to get the bone scan done.

Tests of heart and lung function

Such type of the tests are not used to help diagnose non Hodgkin lymphoma, however, they may be done if you are to get certain chemotherapy drugs commonly used in order to treat lymphoma that may affect the heart or even the lungs.

  • heart function test check may be carried out with an echocardiogram which is an ultrasound of the heart or even a MUGA scan.
  • lung function test check may be carried out with pulmonary function tests, where you breathe into a tube that is connected to a machine.

Treatment of lymphoma:

How this disease is treated depends upon the following factors:

  • The type of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • The stage of the lymphoma.
  • The amount of the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in the blood stream.
  • The amount of the beta-2-microglobulin in the blood stream (for Waldenström macroglobulinemia).
  • The patient’s age and his overall and general health.

However, Following are the ways by which this type of cancer that is lymphoma is treated.

Survival rate for lymphoma:

91 percent of the male patients survive Hodgkin lymphoma for one year, and it is predicted to fall to 84 percent surviving for five years or even more, as described  by the age standardized net survival for the patients that are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma during the year  2010 to 2011 in England and in Wales.Survival rate for women is slightly higher, with 92 percent surviving with this type of cancer which means survival rate for woman is greater as compare to man.

Statistics of lymphoma:                                                                                                                                       

Statistics from the US National Cancer Institute estimated that there are almost 20 cases of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma  every 100,000 people in the American population.2

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is relatively rare, with about three cases in every 100,000 people.

Round About 90 percent of lymphoma patients are the non Hodgkin’s type whereas round about 10 percent are Hodgkin’s.





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