What is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. The lymphatic system is found throughout the body. When you have this disease, cells in the lymphatic system either grow without control or do not die as cells normally do.
There are many types of NHL. Sometimes they are grouped as:
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is different from Hodgkin's lymphoma.
NHL can start almost anywhere in the body. It may start in a single lymph node, a group of lymph nodes, or an organ such as the spleen. NHL can spread to almost any part of the body, including the liver and bone marrow.
Treatment can cure some people and may allow others to live for years. How long you live depends on the type of NHL you have and how early it's diagnosed.
What causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
The cause of NHL is not known. The abnormal cell changes may be triggered by an infection or exposure to something in the environment. It is not contagious.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of NHL include:
How is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your health. The exam includes checking the size of your lymph nodes in your neck, underarm, and groin.
Your doctor will take a piece of body tissue (biopsy) to diagnose NHL. The tissue usually is taken from a lymph node. Your doctor also may do other test, including tests to see what kind of NHL you have.
How is it treated?
Your treatment depends on the type of lymphoma you have, the stage of the disease, your age, and your general health. You may not need treatment until you have symptoms. The treatment options are:
How do you deal with your emotions?
When you have cancer, you may feel confused, alone, and scared. Your loved ones may feel this way too. You are not alone. Others are facing the same struggles, and they know what you are going through. Many of them are feeling the same way.
To help yourself:
If your emotions are too much to handle, be sure to tell your doctor. You may be able to get counseling or other types of help.
Frequently Asked Questions
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