Understanding the Different Types of Lymphoma


Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system and affects white blood cells called lymphocytes that help to protect us against diseases and infections.

MORE: Lymphoma survivor speaks about how young people are affected by cancer.

When the lymphocytes come under attack from lymphoma, they begin to multiply at a faster rate than normal taking up room normally reserved for new cells. The disease can occur in different areas of the body but it usually starts in the lymph nodes and presents as painless swelling, but can also be found in bone marrow, the spleen and other organs.

There are two main types of lymphoma: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, both of which have many subtypes:

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
This is the most common form of the disease, with  61 known different subtypes. One of the main differences between the subtypes is whether they affect T-cell lymphocytes or B-cell lymphocytes.

  • B-cell lymphomas: This type of lymphoma accounts for around 85 percent of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases. One of the most common forms is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) which is an aggressive, fast-growing lymphoma.
  • T-cell lymphomas: These account for less than 15 percent of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases with some form also considered leukemias depending on the involvement of bone marrow such as precursor T-lymphoblastic.

Hodgkin’s Lymphomas
This form of lymphoma is very rare and there are six different subtypes. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is diagnosed by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells in the lymph cells.  Find out more about the different types of lymphoma here.

MORE: The Lymphoma Society produces five videos aimed at young people with the disease.

Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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