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Lymphoma

Lymphoma

Your body's lymphatic system, which includes your lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, tonsils, adenoids and bone marrow, is an important part of your immune system. Lymphoma is cancer of the lymph nodes. This cancer affects the lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. There are two main types of lymphomas, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin. Hodgkin lymphoma is often diagnosed at a more treatable stage, while non-Hodgkin, which is much more common, is more often diagnosed only at a more advanced stage.

What are the symptoms of lymphoma?
One common symptom is swollen lymph nodes. A swollen node may feel like a painless lump. Other symptoms include unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever and night sweats.

How is lymphoma diagnosed?
A biopsy may be done by extracting a sample of the suspicious area using a needle or by surgically removing all or part of a lymph node. To obtain further information on the stage of your lymphoma, a biopsy may be done of your bone marrow or you may receive a spinal tap to check your cerebrospinal fluid. You may also be given various imaging tests or blood tests.

What are the treatments for lymphoma?
Treatment will depend on the exact type of lymphoma you have, as well as how advanced the cancer is and your age and general health. Likely treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these. Sometimes, surgery or a stem cell transplant is done.

What are the risk factors for lymphoma?
Lymphomas are more common in people with impaired immune systems. Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus and with Helicobacter pylori bacteria increase your risk. Different types of lymphomas are more prevalent in different age groups, with some more common in young adults and others more common in older adults.

What are some additional resources for learning about lymphoma?
If you or your loved one is facing lymphoma, CalvertHealth has a whole range of services designed to help you so you never take this journey alone. Please talk to your CalvertHealth provider or your Nurse Navigator, or check the service pages for information about treatments, services and support groups.

You may also find more information on Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.