More Lymphoma (Hodgkin's Disease and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma) Overview
Lymphomas fall into one of two major categories: Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL, previously called Hodgkin's disease) and all other lymphomas (non-Hodgkin's lymphomas or NHLs).
- These two types occur in the same places, may be associated with the same symptoms, and often have similar appearance on physical examination. However, they are readily distinguishable via microscopic examination of a tissue biopsy.
- Hodgkin's disease develops from a specific abnormal B lymphocyte lineage. NHL may derive from either abnormal B or T cells and are distinguished by unique genetic markers.
- There are five subtypes of Hodgkin's disease and about 30 subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
- Because there are so many different subtypes of lymphoma, the classification of lymphomas is complicated (it includes both the microscopic appearance as well as genetic and molecular markers).
- Many of the NHL subtypes look similar, but they are functionally quite different and respond to different therapies with different probabilities of cure. HL subtypes are microscopically distinct, and typing is based upon the microscopic differences as well as extent of disease.
Lymphoma is the most common type of blood cancer in the United States. It is the seventh most common cancer in adults and the third most common in children. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is far more common than Hodgkin's lymphoma.
- In the United States, about 70,800 new cases of NHL and 9,200 new cases of HL were expected to be diagnosed in 2014, and the overall incidence is increasing each year.
- About 19,000 deaths due to NHL were expected in 2014 as well as 1,200 deaths due to HL, with the survival rate of all but the most advanced cases of HL greater than that of other lymphomas.
- Lymphoma can occur at any age, including childhood. Hodgkin's disease is most common in two age groups: young adults 16-34 years of age and in older people 55 years of age and older. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is more likely to occur in older people.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2015
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