Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. There are 8 types of lymphoma, but lymphoma is not discussed in terms of 8. There are the two major types of lymphoma and over 30 subtypes. More are discovered every year.
Lymphoma is classified as either Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin. The difference is in one specific cell type that is found in Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is named after Thomas Hodgkin who discovered it in the 1830’s. This is more rare than non-Hodgkin’s. Researchers believe Hodgkin’s lymphoma is closely associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. This is dormant in most people but can become active and infect a person.
The chances of getting Hodgkin’s lymphoma after the Epstein-Barr virus has attacked are greater. Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually begins in one lymph node and spreads to other lymph nodes and tissues. People between the ages of 15 and 35 and those who are over 55 are at an increased risk for this type of cancer.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma begins when there are abnormal cells in the lymphatic system that divide without control or older cells in the body don’t die a normal cellular death. Unlike Hodgkin’s lymphoma, this type can spread throughout the body without order. It can affect the organs such as the bone marrow, spleen and liver. The stages of classification are based on where the cancer is spreading in the body.
If a patient has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it means they have one of thirty
subtypes. These are categorized as:
Aggressive or non-aggressive. This refers to how fast the cancer is multiplying and growing.
Affecting the B-cells or T-cells in the immune system.
The exact subtype must be found in order for the doctor to prescribe the best treatment. Each different type responds differently to specific chemotherapies.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma does not have an age group favorite, but there are some factors that can increase the risk of certain individuals getting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These are immune deficiencies caused by AIDS, Epstein-Barr and Hepatitis C.
As with every other cancer, the earlier the cancer is found, the better chance a person has of surviving.