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.
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:
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.
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.
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