Lymphoma is cancer that occurs in the cells of the lymphatic system (immune system), a network of lymph nodes and lymph vessels that carry lymph fluid, nutrients, and waste throughout tissues and the bloodstream. The spleen, bone marrow and thymus gland are also apart of the lymphatic system.
Two main types of lymphoma are:
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - Starts in the lymphoid tissue. Occurs in adults and children.
- Hodgkin's disease, also known as Hodgkin lymphoma - Starts when a lymphocyte (usually a B cell) becomes abnormal, called a Reed-Sternberg cell (or Hodgkin cells). Occurs in adults and children.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms may include:
- Night sweats.
- Weight loss.
- Itchy skin.
Hodgkin's disease symptoms may include:
- The symptoms listed above for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol.
- Coughing, trouble breathing or chest pain.
If you or your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a MemorialCare Physician partner.
Risk Factors & Prevention
You are at a greater risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma if you:
- Are over the age of 60.
- Are exposed to toxic chemicals, such as benzene.
- Are treated with chemotherapy drugs.
- Are exposed to radiation.
- Have a weak immune system, autoimmune disease, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Are overweight.
You are at a greater risk for Hodgkin's disease if you:
- Are between the age of 15 to 40 or over the age of 55.
- Are male.
- Have a weak immune system or Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
- Have a family history, especially brothers and sisters with Hodgkin's disease.
The causes for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease are unknown. Reducing the spread of AIDS can help prevent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.