Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells called lymphocytes. These cells make up the lymphatic system which helps fight infections and control the flow of fluids in the body. Lymphoma can start anywhere in the body where lymph tissue is found, including lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow, thymus, tonsils, and the digestive tract.
Last Updated: February 21, 2024

The exact causes of lymphoma remain unknown, but various factors increase the chances of developing the disease, such as: • Male sex • Having an autoimmune condition (for example, rheumatoid arthritis) • Infections (for example, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, Hepatitis C virus, Helicobacter pylori) • Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides and solvents

The most common symptom among individuals with lymphoma is having swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin. Other symptoms may also develop, like: • Fever • Weakness and fatigue • Weight loss and poor appetite • Night sweats • Difficulty breathing or chest pain • Itchy skin • Pallor

To diagnose lymphoma, doctors usually perform a biopsy of one of the swollen lymph nodes. Additional tests, such as blood work-up, bone marrow biopsies, and imaging tests like a CT or PET scan, are then conducted to determine the stage or extent of the lymphoma. Imaging tests show whether the lymphoma has spread to other parts of your body like the spleen and lungs. Treatment decisions are then determined by the doctor after considering the age and general health of the patient, and the stage and type of lymphoma. Treatment options include the following: • Chemotherapy • Radiation therapy that directly targets the lymphoma • Biological therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies, directed at lymphoma cells • Stem cell transplant • Surgery

Because the cause of lymphoma remains unknown, there is no concrete way to prevent it. Thus, awareness of the risk factors and possible disease manifestations, and seeking early consultation with a physician for those who are exhibiting symptoms of lymphoma, are crucial.
Last Updated: February 21, 2024