Lymphoma is the most common form of cancer in teenagers and young adults. There are two main types of lymphoma that affect people between the ages of 15 and 24: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (and according to the Lymphoma Association, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more than twice as common in this age group). These two forms can be split into further subcategories, and each one needs to be addressed differently.
The majority of Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases (95 percent) are considered classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are four different types of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the treatment is the same for each one. The other 5 percent of cases are lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is a slow-growing lymphoma and often requires less treatment.
There are many different subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which depend largely on whether the patient’s T-cells or B-cells are affected. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are also categorized by how fast they grow — high-grade lymphomas are aggressive while low-grade lymphomas grow more slowly.
Most young people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma tend to have a high-grade form, but these are usually easy to get into remission with less chance of recurrence than low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
These are the most common high-grade lymphomas in young people:
- Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: This is a high-grade T-cell lymphoma that can begin anywhere in the body in extranodal sites or through the lymph nodes.
- Burkitt Lymphoma: This is a high-grade B-cell lymphoma than usually begins in the lymph nodes in the bowel or stomach.
- Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma: This is also a high-grade B-cell lymphoma which can develop in either extranodal sites or internal lymph nodes in the chest, stomach, or bones.
- Lymphoblastic Lymphoma: This high-grade T-cell lymphoma usually causing swelling in the lymph nodes in the chest and around the heart. The B-cell form of this lymphoma is much rarer.
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