Lymphoma: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment


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Lymphoma is a type of bone marrow cancer that affects the lymphatic system, an essential part of our immune system. As this cancer develops in the lymph nodes, it may advance quickly to other tissues and organs. Lymphoma most commonly spreads in the liver, bone marrow, spleen or lungs.

Lymphoma can affect people of any age, but it is a prevalent form of cancer in young adults aged 15 to 24. It is often curable only if the proper treatment is given at the right time. This article will explain lymphoma cancer, its meaning, symptoms, causes, and treatment options crucial for early detection and effective management.

Disease Name



Enlarged lymph, liver,  spleen, Fever and night sweats, Chills, Cough, Tiredness


Genetics, Age, Gender, Chemical exposure, Autoimmune disease, Infection


Blood Tests, PET Scan, Bone marrow biopsy, MRI, CT Scan, Lumbar Puncture

Treated by

Medical and Surgical Oncologists

Treatment Options

Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Targeted therapy, Immunotherapy, Stem cell transplantation

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a broad word for cancer that begins in the infection-fighting cells of the lymphatic system. It occurs when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, undergo abnormal changes and multiply uncontrollably. These abnormal lymphocytes can accumulate and form tumours in various body parts, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, and other organs.

Researchers have grouped more than 70 forms of lymphoma into two categories: Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Lymphoma cancers may negatively impact any part of the body's lymphatic system, including the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes.

Lymphoma Types and Stages

Lymphoma is broadly classified into two main types: Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These types of lymphoma cancer differ in terms of their characteristics, behaviour, and the specific cells involved.

  1. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL): Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterised by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are large abnormal cells within the lymph nodes. It accounts for a smaller proportion of lymphomas compared to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is further divided into several subtypes, including:

    1. Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin Lymphoma (NSHL): Nodular sclerosis is the most frequent form of Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is identified by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells enclosed by fibrous tissue in the affected lymph nodes. It commonly affects young adults and teenagers.

    2. Mixed Cellularity Hodgkin Lymphoma (MCHL): It is a type of Hodgkin's lymphoma characterised by an excess of Reed-Sternberg cells mixed with other inflammatory cells. 

      1. It is more common in older adults and can be linked to the Epstein-Barr virus, which spreads through saliva. 

      2. MCHL is identified by the presence of popcorn-like cells called eosinophils, lymphocytes, and histiocytes.

    3. Lymphocyte-Rich Hodgkin Lymphoma (LRHL): This is a less common subtype characterised by many lymphocytes and fewer Reed-Sternberg cells. It often has a positive outlook and is more commonly found in the body's lymph nodes.

    4. Lymphocyte-Depleted Hodgkin Lymphoma (LDHL): LDHL is a type characterised by a significant number of Reed-Sternberg cells but fewer immune cells around them. It is more frequently observed in older individuals or those with weakened immune systems.

    5. Nodular Lymphocyte-Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: This subtype is less common and has distinct characteristics, including the presence of popcorn cells.

  1. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL): NHL describes a wide range of lymphomas without Reed-Sternberg cells. It is further divided into subtypes based on additional characteristics and the particular lymphocyte involved (B cells, T cells, or natural killer cells). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has several common subtypes, including:

    1. Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, characterised by rapidly growing tumours.

    2. Follicular Lymphoma: This subtype grows slowly and often remains indolent for many years.

    3. Mantle Cell Lymphoma: This is a rare and aggressive subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, usually diagnosed at an advanced stage.

    4. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma tumour growth may not touch every lymph node, often skipping some and developing on others. It is responsible for 95% of lymphoma instances.

Lymphoma Stages

The lymphoma cancer stage, which is categorised using a numbering system (stages 1 through 4), shows how far the disease has spread. Depending on whether the patient exhibits particular symptoms, the stage may include the letters A, B, E, or S to describe the malignancy further.

  1. A and B: The letter A denotes the absence of B symptoms in a subject. The letter B denotes the presence of at least one of the wet night sweats, unexplained fever, or abrupt weight loss symptoms.

  2. E and S: The disease has spread to tissues or organs beyond the lymphatic system, as indicated by the letter E. Cancer that has progressed to the spleen is represented by the letter S.

  3. Stage I: The cancer is limited to a single lymph node or lymphatic site.

  4. Stage II: Cancer involves two or more lymph nodes or lymphatic sites on the same side of the diaphragm.

  5. Stage III: The cancer is present in lymph nodes or lymphatic sites on both sides of the diaphragm. 

  6. Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other organs or tissues beyond the lymphatic system, such as the bone marrow, liver, or lungs.

Lymphoma Symptoms

In its early stages, lymphoma may not constantly develop symptoms. Instead, a medical professional may discover swollen lymph nodes via a physical examination. Under the skin, these may feel like little, soft nodules. A person can feel lymph nodes in the following areas:

  1. Upper neck and chest

  2. Armpit

  3. Stomach 

  4. Groin

The symptoms of lymphoma vary depending on the type and stage of the disease. It's important to note that experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean one has lymphoma, as other conditions can also cause them. However, if one has persistent or concerning symptoms, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation. 

Early lymphoma symptoms are generally nonspecific. Thus, it is important to keep an eye on any unusual symptoms. Below mentioned are some of the most prevalent early lymphoma symptoms:

  1. Chills 

  2. Cough

  3. Tiredness

  4. Enlarged spleen 

  5. Fever and night sweat

  6. Uncomfortable rash

  7. Shortness of breath

  8. Skin irritation

  9. Stomach ache and appetite loss

  10. Unexpected, unexplained weight loss

Lymphoma Causes

The cause of lymphoma cancer is unknown. However, scientists say it all starts with a genetic mutation in a disease-fighting white blood cell called a lymphocyte. The mutation instructs the cell to multiply, resulting in the proliferation of abnormal lymphocytes.

This creates an overabundance of defective and inefficient lymphocytes in the lymph nodes, which causes swelling of the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.

Lymphoma Risk Factors 

Even though the condition's cause remains challenging to be analysed, diverse risk factors can enhance the likelihood of developing both forms of lymphoma cancer. These risk factors include : 

  1. Age: The majority of lymphomas occur in adults aged 60 and up. Certain varieties, however, are more prone to emerge in children and young people.

  2. Gender: Certain types are more common among women. Other types are more common among men.

  3. Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, organ transplant recipients taking immunosuppressant medications, or individuals with certain inherited immune disorders, have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.

  4. Chemical Exposure: Exposure to nuclear radiation and certain agricultural pesticides might increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

  5. Autoimmune Disease: These are conditions in which the immune system starts attacking the body's cells. Rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease are two examples.

  6. Infections: Infections that convert lymphocytes, such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), enhance the risk. This virus causes glandular fever.

  7. Family history: A close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with lymphoma increases the risk of developing the disease. However, the overall risk is still relatively low.

  8. Breast Implants: They can cause anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in breast tissue. 

  9. Body Weight and Diet: Obesity and being overweight may affect the development of lymphoma. More research, however, is required to confirm the connection between the two.

Prevention of Lymphoma

With the adoption of the right methods, one can significantly reduce the risk of having this ailment. While there are no assurances, some activities can fix overall health and well-being and reduce the risk of lymphoma cancer. Let's look at some preventive actions and lifestyle decisions that can be helpful:

  1. Maintain Physical Activity: Regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or engaging in one's favourite sports, is recommended. Exercise improves circulation, boosts the immune system, and enhances general health.

  2. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcoholism has been related to an increased potential risk of some kinds of lymphoma. It is, therefore, essential to drink alcoholic beverages in limit or to avoid them entirely.

  3. Keep a Balanced Weight: Strive to keep the body weight within the acceptable range for height and shape. Excess weight can lead to diverse health problems and raise the risk of getting cancers such as lymphoma.

  4. Say No to Tobacco and Smoking: Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, as smoking has been associated with an increased potential risk of lymphoma cancer. 

  5. Avoid Exposure to Environmental Toxins: When possible, reduce exposure to dangerous chemicals, insecticides, and other poisons. In vocations or situations where disclosure is likely, follow safety requirements and take protective measures.

  6. Vaccinations: Maintain a vaccination schedule since some diseases, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and hepatitis C, have been associated with an increased potential risk of lymphoma. Consult the doctor to determine which vaccinations are the most suitable.

How is Lymphoma Diagnosed?

There are no routine lymphoma cancer screenings. If a person experiences chronic viral symptoms, they should seek medical attention. The doctor will inquire about the patient's personal and family medical history to discover other illnesses.

If the doctor suspects lymphoma, the patient is asked to undergo a series of tests to determine the disease's presence, type, and stage. These tests help diagnose lymphoma and provide important information for developing an appropriate treatment plan:

  1. Blood Tests: The patient would be asked to undergo certain blood tests, including complete blood count (CBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and liver and kidney function tests, to understand the degree of spread.

  2. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: The healthcare professional injects a radioactive tracer into the body. The tracer aids in the detection of early cancer indications.

  3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This test produces highly clear images of organs and basic structures within the body using a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer.

  4. CT Scan: This test creates three-dimensional images of the soft tissues and bones using a series of X-rays and a computer.

  5. Biopsy: A biopsy is a key diagnostic procedure for lymphoma cancer. It involves the removal of a sample of affected lymph tissue for laboratory examination. There are different types of biopsies, including 

    1. Excisional Biopsy (removal of an entire lymph node)

    2. Incisional Biopsy (removal of a portion of a lymph node)

    3. Needle Biopsy (using a thin needle to extract cells from a lymph node or other affected area)

  6. Bone Marrow Biopsy: A bone marrow biopsy may be conducted to check for lymphoma involvement in the bone marrow. This procedure involves the removal of a small sample of bone marrow from the hipbone or another suitable site. The sample is examined under a microscope to detect the presence of lymphoma cells. 

  7. Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture): In some cases, a lumbar puncture may be performed to assess whether lymphoma cancer has spread to the central nervous system. The healthcare professional inserts a needle into the lower back to get a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. The transparent liquid that covers the spine and brain is cerebrospinal fluid.

How to Prepare for Doctor's Consultation?

A doctor consultation is a valuable opportunity to discuss health concerns, seek medical advice, and develop a collaborative action plan with the healthcare provider. 

Preparing for this appointment can maximise one's time and ensure a productive and informative discussion. Here are some basic things to prepare:

  1. Compile the medical history and test results.

  2. Write down all the questions and concerns which are a cause of botheration.

  3. One must research and educate themselves a bit about lymphoma from reliable sources. They can write down any points that come to their mind while researching.

  4. Take a support person or trusted family member to discuss the condition better. 

What to Expect from the Doctor?

When facing a lymphoma diagnosis, it's natural to have questions, concerns, and a need for guidance. The doctor's role is pivotal in the healthcare journey, providing vital information and support. One can expect many things during their interactions with the doctor:

  1. Answer the Questions: The doctor will clarify doubts and discuss the diagnosis's concerns. They will ensure that the person precisely understands the overall condition.

  2. Treatment Options: The doctor will discuss the available treatment options for lymphoma cancer based on the specific diagnosis, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplantation.

  3. Benefits and Risks: The doctor will explain each treatment option's potential benefits and risks. They will discuss possible side effects and address any concerns that one may have.

What to be Asked of the Doctor?

While the doctor progresses with physical examination and tests, the patient must also be ready with the right set of questions. Here is a list of questions one can discuss with their healthcare providers. 

  1. What are the potential causes of my condition?

  2. What preventive measures should be taken to reduce the risk of my condition?

  3. How can I identify the stage of my condition?

  4. What is the best treatment method for my condition?

  5. What are the risks associated with the treatment method recommended to me?

  6. What is the success rate of the specific treatment method?

  7. For how long would I need to undergo the treatment? 

Lymphoma Treatment

Treatment for lymphoma is influenced by a number of factors, such as the kind and stage of the illness, general health, and personal preferences. A multidisciplinary team of experts, which may include radiation oncologists, haematologists, and other medical professionals, usually creates a thorough treatment plan. The most common lymphoma treatments include

  1. Steroids: Steroids may be used as part of lymphoma treatment. They can help in the reduction of inflammation and suppress the immune system. This, in turn, stops the growth of cancer cells in our body.

  2. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful medications to destroy cancer cells. It is a typical lymphoma treatment that can be given orally, intravenously, or intramuscularly. 

    1. Depending on the type and stage of the lymphoma, different medications and treatment times are used.

  3. Radiation Therapy: High-energy radiation, such as X-rays or other types, is used in radiation treatment to target and kill cancer cells. 

    1. It is frequently used as a stand-alone treatment for localised lymphomas or in conjunction with chemotherapy. 

    2. To minimise damage to healthy tissues, the radiation is targeted precisely to the afflicted area.

  4. Targeted Therapy: Drugs that selectively target particular molecules or processes involved in cancer progression are used in targeted therapy. 

    1. These treatments aim to hinder the development and survival of cancer cells while posing the least possible risk to normal cells. 

    2. For some forms of lymphomas, targeted therapy can be applied alone or in conjunction with other therapies.

  5. Immunotherapy: A type of treatment known as immunotherapy uses the body's immune system to combat cancer cells. 

    1. It comprises other immune-stimulating treatments and monoclonal antibody therapy, which targets and kills cancer cells selectively with artificial antibodies. 

    2. Certain lymphomas, including Hodgkin lymphoma and several non-Hodgkin lymphomas, can be successfully treated with immunotherapy.

  6. Stem Cell Transplantation: Stem cell transplantation may be recommended in cases requiring high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It involves replacing damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy stem cells, which can develop into new blood cells and restore the immune system.

Cost of Lymphoma Treatment

The cost of lymphoma treatment in India varies depending on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, the treatment method used, the patient's age, the hospital's location and type, and the doctor's level of experience.

The table below shows the cost of different lymphoma treatment options:

Surgery Name

Surgery Cost


₹ 75,000 to ₹ 2,50,000

Radiation Therapy

₹ 60,000 to ₹ 2,00,000

Targeted Therapy

₹ 80,000 to ₹ 2,25,000


₹ 80,000 to ₹ 2,25,000

Stem Cell Transplantation

₹ 15,00,000 to ₹ 27,00,000

Lymphoma Survival Rate 

The survival rate of lymphoma can vary based on several factors, including the type and stage of the disease, age, overall health, and response to treatment. Here are some general statistics on the survival rates of lymphoma based on the American Cancer Society:

  1. Hodgkin Lymphoma: The overall five-year survival rate for Hodgkin lymphoma is around 87%. The survival rate varies depending on the stage of the disease, with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma having a higher survival rate of over 90% and advanced-stage cases having a slightly lower rate.

  2. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The five-year survival rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies depending on the subtype and other factors. It is around 70% for adults and is generally higher for children.

Risks and Complications of Lymphoma

Lymphoma, like many other cancers, can present certain risks and complications. Awareness of and managing these challenges is crucial in providing optimal care and support. Let's dive into some key aspects related to the risks and complications of lymphoma

  1. Chemotherapy Side Effects: Chemotherapy, a standard treatment for lymphoma, can lead to various side effects such as nausea, hair loss, fatigue, and increased risk of infections.

  2. Radiation Therapy Side Effects: Radiation therapy, used in some instances of lymphoma, can cause skin changes, fatigue, and long-term complications in nearby organs.

  3. Immunotherapy-Related Complications: Immunotherapy, while beneficial in treating lymphoma, can lead to immune-related side effects, including inflammation of organs and autoimmune reactions.

  4. Weakened Immune System: Lymphoma and its treatments can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections.

  5. Late Effects of Treatment: Some individuals may experience long-term side effects of lymphoma treatment, such as organ damage, secondary cancers, or fertility issues.

Risks of Delayed Treatment

Like any other cancer, lymphoma requires prompt medical attention and intervention to achieve the best possible outcomes. Delays or avoidance in seeking treatment can significantly affect health and prognosis. Here are some critical risks associated with not treating lymphoma on time:

  1. Uncontrolled Growth: Without treatment, lymphoma cells can continue to multiply and spread throughout the body, leading to the progression of the disease.

  2. Advanced Stages: Delayed treatment may result in cancer reaching advanced settings, making it more challenging to achieve remission or control the disease effectively.

  3. Increased Complications: Advanced lymphoma can lead to organ damage, compromised immune function, and a higher risk of infections.

  4. Diminished Chances of Cure: Delaying treatment reduces the likelihood of achieving complete remission or cure, decreasing the overall survival rates for lymphoma patients.

  5. Lower Treatment Response: Advanced lymphoma may be less responsive to treatment, resulting in decreased effectiveness and compromised outcomes.

  6. Limited Therapeutic Options: Delayed treatment may limit the possibilities, as specific therapies may be more effective in the earlier stages of lymphoma.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Living with lymphoma requires being attuned to the body and recognising any changes or symptoms that may indicate the need for medical attention. Here are some situations and symptoms that should prompt one to consult a doctor:

  1. Fatigue and Weakness: Persistent fatigue and unexplained weakness that interfere with daily activities should not be ignored.

  2. Night Sweats: If one is regularly waking up drenched in sweat, especially when accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical advice.

  3. Skin Changes: New or changing skin lesions, rashes, or itching should be examined by a dermatologist or oncologist, as lymphoma can manifest in the skin.

  4. Side Effects of Treatment: If one is undergoing lymphoma treatment and experience severe or intolerable side effects, it is important to speak or talk with the healthcare team.

  5. Infection or Complications: Lymphoma and its treatment can weaken the immune system significantly, making one more vulnerable to infections. If one develops a high fever, persistent cough, or signs of infection, seek immediate medical attention.

Diet for Lymphoma

Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is important for overall health and well-being, including during lymphoma treatment. It is recommended to follow a diet that includes:

  1. Fruits and Vegetables: Incorporate a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables into the diet. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immune function and overall health.

  2. Whole Grains: Opt for whole grain products such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain cereals. They are a good source of fibre and can help maintain energy levels.

  3. Lean Proteins: Choose lean protein sources such as poultry, fish, beans, legumes, and tofu. These provide important nutrients for cell repair and maintenance.

  4. Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats in the diet, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats can help with nutrient absorption and provide energy.

  5.  Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Water helps in maintaining proper bodily functions.


Lymphoma is a complex and challenging condition, but we can navigate this journey more confidently with knowledge and support. Throughout this blog, we have explored the different aspects of lymphoma, starting with its definition and classification into Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We discussed the importance of recognising lymphoma symptoms, causes, and treatment options, and we empower you and your loved ones to navigate this challenging journey with knowledge and confidence. 

HexaHealth is one of the most promising and accurate medical and health-oriented platforms that allow you to make the right decisions regarding your well-being. A team of dedicated professionals, our experts are always readily available to help you with all your questions and clear your many confusions. To find out how we can assist you in many aspects, we at HexaHealth are a one-stop destination for you.

Suggested Reads,

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FAQs for Lymphoma

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a broad term for blood cancer affecting lymphatics, a crucial part of our immune system. It can impact various organs, including lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow. This malignancy can spread to different body parts, posing significant health challenges.

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Is lymphoma cancer curable?

People who have been diagnosed with a kind of lymphoma cancer frequently wonder if Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is treatable. Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. Because lymphoma is such a broad term, knowing the subtype is essential for determining whether or not it is treatable. Variable subtypes have variable durability since treatment options vary.

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What are the different types of lymphoma?

There are many types of lymphoma. The primary subtypes are    

  1. Hodgkin's lymphoma (formerly known as Hodgkin's disease)   

  2. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL)

The most suitable lymphoma treatment is decided by the type and severity of your lymphoma. As a result, it aids in choosing the most significant decisions.

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What are the common lymphoma symptoms?

The symptoms of lymphoma vary based on the type and how advanced it is. Many of the symptoms are kind of similar to the signs of other illnesses, but these are common: 

  1. Fatigue (extreme tiredness) or weakness   

  2. Cough

  3. Fever  

  4. Itchiness

  5. Shortness of breath

  6. Sweating, especially at night

  7. Swollen lymph nodes 

  8. Weight loss for no apparent reason

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What causes lymphoma?

Lymphoma's cause is uncertain, but it begins with a genetic mutation in lymphocytes, white blood cells that fight disease. The mutation prompts cell overgrowth, leading to numerous sick lymphocytes that keep multiplying. It also prevents their natural death, resulting in an excess of faulty lymphocytes in lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, causing swelling.

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How is lymphoma diagnosed?

Several checks and testing may be required to identify whether you have lymphoma and what type you have. To obtain complex information on lymphoma for correct diagnosis, specialists employ a range of procedures, including:

  1. Physical examination 

  2. Examinations of the blood

  3. Biopsy of bone marrow 

  4. Biopsy of lymph nodes

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What are the treatment options for lymphoma?

Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or combination therapy may be used to treat lymphoma. Immunotherapy and other novel treatments, such as stem cell transplantation, may be included. The most effective therapy for you will be decided by various criteria, including the type of lymphoma you have and if it has returned after earlier treatment.

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How is the stage of lymphoma determined?

When a patient is diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, doctors will attempt to identify whether the cancer has reached and how far it has gone. This is referred to as staging. The cancer stage describes the amount of cancer in the body. Imaging tests like PET or CT scans are crucial in determining cancer severity and treatment options. These results are key in determining the stage of lymphoma.

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What are the risk factors for developing lymphoma?

Factors increasing lymphoma risk:

  1. Age: Certain types occur more in young adults, others in people over 55.

  2. Gender: Males have a slightly higher risk of lymphoma than females.

  3. Weakened immune system: Immune system diseases or immunosuppressive drugs increase risk.

  4. Specific infections: Epstein-Barr virus and Helicobacter pylori infection are associated with increased risk.

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Can lymphoma be prevented?

To reduce your risk of developing lymphoma or any cancer, consider these steps:

  1. Stay physically active.    

  2. Minimise exposure to harmful chemicals.

  3. Maintain a healthy diet.

  4. Create a survivorship plan for yourself.

Remember, the causes of lymphoma cancer are often unknown, so prevention is like shooting an arrow in the dark, but adopting these practices can help reduce your overall cancer risk.

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What are the differences between Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

In general, Hodgkin'slymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma differ in pathology and spread. Non-Hodgkin's is typically more severe with multiple organ metastases. Hodgkin's arises from B cells, with painless cervical lymphadenopathy and Reed-Sternberg cells. Non-Hodgkin's involves B, T, and NK cells, is more common after 55, and presents with painless disseminated lymphadenopathy.

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How does lymphoma affect the lymphatic system?

Lymphoma impacts lymphatic tissue found throughout the body. Tumors can develop in lymph nodes, vessels, fluids, thymus, and spleen. The weakened immune system caused by lymphoma increases infection risk. Symptoms include jaundice, bone pain, fatigue, lung issues, and muscle weakness. Seek medical attention promptly if you experience these signs.

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Are there any genetic or hereditary factors associated with lymphoma?

Lymphoma is not a genetic disease. However, some genetic mutations raise the likelihood of developing it. A lymphoma family history appears to increase the chance of developing the disease, particularly in the case of Hodgkin lymphoma. Several gene mutations have been linked to distinct forms of lymphomas. Mutations in genes that govern cell division and death play a crucial role in lymphoma development.

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What are the available tests for diagnosing lymphoma?

To diagnose lymphoma cancer, doctors use various tests:

1. Physical exam: Swollen lymph nodes, spleen, or liver are checked.

2. Lymph node biopsy: A procedure to remove a lymph node for testing.

3. Blood tests: Counting cells in a blood sample provides diagnostic clues.

4. Bone marrow sample: A needle is used to analyse bone marrow.

5. Imaging tests: CT, MRI, and PET scans detect lymphoma in different body areas.

Additional tests may be conducted based on individual circumstances.

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Can lymphoma be detected through a routine blood test?

Blood tests can provide initial lymphoma indications, but they are not definitive and can be influenced by other medical conditions. It's crucial to confirm the results using additional diagnostic techniques. 

Some blood tests that can help detect lymphoma include complete cell count, blood smear, white cell differential, and flow cytometry. These tests work together to provide a more accurate diagnosis and guide appropriate treatment decisions.

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Can a biopsy confirm the diagnosis of lymphoma?

Having a biopsy reviewed by an expert pathologist boosts diagnostic accuracy. A needle is inserted in your hipbone to extract a marrow sample during a bone marrow procedure. This sample is analyzed for lymphoma cancer cells. Research supports this approach.

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What imaging tests are used to determine the extent of lymphoma?

Your doctor can recommend you go for imaging tests to check for symptoms of lymphoma in other parts of your body. CT, MRI, and positron emission tomography (PET) are all possible imaging tests.

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What are the treatment options for early-stage lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is highly curable, especially in early-stage lymphoma cases. Chemotherapy combined with targeted radiation therapy is the standard treatment for these patients. 

Early unfavourable patients typically receive four cycles of ABVD chemotherapy and 30 Gy IF-RT or two cycles of BEACOPP baseline followed by two cycles of ABVD and IF-RT. These treatment approaches have shown excellent results in improving outcomes for patients with HL.

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What are the treatment options for advanced-stage lymphoma?

The most advanced stage of this form of cancer is stage 4. Outside the lymphatic system, the cancer has spread to at least one organ, such as the liver, lungs, or bone marrow. This is in addition to lymph node cancer. Treatment options for stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma include

  1. Six to eight cycles of chemotherapy 

  2. Steroids

  3. Radiation treatment etc. is commonly used to treat stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Is chemotherapy the primary treatment for lymphoma?

Chemotherapy is a method of cancer treatment. It is one of the most typical treatments doctors use to treat various types of lymphoma cancer. Chemotherapy is usually done as an outpatient procedure.

Chemotherapy treatment typically comprises a cocktail of chemotherapy medications that doctors administer to the patient for one or a few days. These drugs are often administered as tablets or infusions.

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Are there any targeted therapies or immunotherapies available for lymphoma?

Targeted therapy focuses on proteins that control cancer cell growth. By understanding DNA changes and cancer-driving proteins, treatments can be designed to target them. B-cell

lymphoma targeted therapies include  

1. Monoclonal antibodies (rituximab, ofatumumab, obinutuzumab) that target CD20 lymphocyte antigen. 

2. Gene transfer therapy, like CAR-T therapy, targets CD19 antigen on B cells. 

3. Small-molecule inhibitors (ibrutinib, acalabrutinib, copanlisib, duvelisib, idelalisib) that target B-cell receptor signaling.

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Can radiation therapy be used to treat lymphoma?

Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells using high-energy rays. It's crucial to Hodgkin lymphoma treatment, particularly for localized cases. 

  1. In classic Hodgkin lymphoma, radiation follows chemotherapy, especially for large tumours. Chemotherapy alone may not cure the lymphoma, but the combined approach often does. 
  2. For nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma, radiation therapy alone may be sufficient.
  3. While radiation effectively kills HL cells, doctors now prioritize lower doses due to potential long-term side effects. 

Today, chemotherapy is also highly successful in treating HL.

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What are the potential side effects of lymphoma treatment?

Some of the more potential side effects of lymphoma treatments are

  1. Bowel problems

  2. Chemo brain'

  3. Dry, sore, and itchy skin

  4. Fatigue

  5. Hair loss

  6. Nausea and vomiting

  7. Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)

  8. Sleep problems

  9. Sore mouth (oral mucositis)

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How often should follow-up visits and tests be conducted after completing lymphoma treatment?

After treatment, attending follow-up appointments is crucial as Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) can return, even years later. During these visits, your doctor will inquire about symptoms, conduct physical exams, and may order blood tests or imaging scans like PET or CT scans. 

Typically, appointments are recommended every 3 to 6 months, with longer intervals. However, even after five years, seeing your oncologist at least once a year is essential. Those with persistent HL will have a customised follow-up schedule based on their circumstances.

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Is lymphoma treatment successful?

Of all types of lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma is highly treatable, with over 90% survival rate beyond five years. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has lower survival rates but can still be treated. The type of lymphocyte affected and the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells impact the outcome. Prognostic factors play a role in both lymphoma types.

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Can lymphoma recur after successful treatment?

A successful lymphoma treatment doesn't guarantee a cure. Lymphomas can recur, so doctors monitor them for years. In Hodgkin lymphoma, PET/CT scans help detect the remaining disease. 

Uncertainty arises when there's residual mass in the chest, unclear if it's scarring or active infection. Only when sure can they declare a cure. Hodgkin and aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas have a higher chance of recurrence within a few years. Indolent NHL may return after long periods.

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Are there any rehabilitation centres available for individuals with lymphoma and their families?

The answer to this query is going to be a subjective one. However, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai, India, offers top-notch care for lymphoma cancer. Their dedicated team of experts focuses on delivering excellent medical services and compassionate support. 

They provide comprehensive treatment for all lymphatic system cancers and are committed to restoring health and enhancing lives. Experience personalised care and medical excellence at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital.

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What lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of lymphoma?

Lifestyle changes can improve your overall health while managing Hodgkin lymphoma. 

  1. Quit smoking

  2. Minimise infection risk

  3. Make dietary adjustments

  4. Exercise regularly

  5. Manage fatigue

  6. Seek support

  7. Implement comfort measures

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Are there any dietary recommendations for individuals with lymphoma?

A healthy diet can benefit both your body and mind. Your food may give fuel to assist your body to perform optimally and nourish to aid in tissue healing and recovery. With sufficient dietary assistance, mood and overall vitality will improve. 

Cancer and various cancer therapies might suppress appetite. It becomes essential to get the most of the calories consumed. A licensed dietician can assist in managing the issues associated with Hodgkin lymphoma and its therapies and developing an appropriate meal plan.

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How does lymphoma affect the immune system?

Lymphoma is a blood cancer where abnormal lymphocytes hinder your immune system's function. Fighting infections becomes challenging with too many abnormal cells and a shortage of healthy ones. 

Lymphoma cells in your bone marrow replace healthy blood cells, including infection-fighting white blood cells. Moreover, cancer cells drain your body's energy, weakening the immune system and causing weight loss and muscle loss.

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Can lymphoma spread to other parts of the body?

Stage IV lymphoma means the cancer has spread from the lymph nodes to other body parts, such as the liver, bone marrow, or lungs.  While this advanced stage is troubling, it is worth noting that stages III and IV are now classified together due to similar treatment options and prognoses. 

Despite their severity, many stage III-IV lymphomas are highly treatable and potentially curable depending on the individual subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

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What is the prognosis for lymphoma patients?

The prognosis of lymphoma cancer patients depends on various factors: cancer type, stage, age, health, and treatment response. Aggressive lymphomas often require intensive therapy. Early detection improves outcomes. 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has a 5-year survival rate of approximately 72%, while Hodgkin lymphoma is around 87%. Remember, these are general statistics, and each case is unique. Overall health and treatment response greatly influence prognosis.

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What are the advancements in lymphoma treatment?

There are some advancements in lymphoma treatment:  T-cell lymphoma treatment may benefit from a targeted drug.

  1. T-cell lymphomas are uncommon non-Hodgkin lymphomas that frequently return after initial chemotherapy.
  2. In Hodgkin lymphoma, combination therapy shows promise. 
  3. Nanoparticles are being used to treat diffuse large B cell lymphoma.
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How does lymphoma differ from other types of cancer?

Other cancers may affect any part of the body. However, whereas leukaemia and lymphoma are both kinds of blood cancer, they impact the body in distinct ways. The primary distinction is that leukaemia affects the blood and bone marrow, whereas lymphomas primarily affect the lymph nodes.

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Are there any long-term complications associated with lymphoma or its treatment?

Survivors of lymphoma may experience long-term effects impacting their life. Increased risk of second cancers, heart disease, lung problems, infections, and hormonal disorders are common. Second, cancers and heart disease are significant causes of mortality in long-term survivors.

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Can lymphoma affect children and adolescents?

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) are two distinct types of lymphomas that behave differently and require specific treatments. HL is more common in older children and teens, while NHL is more prevalent in younger children. Determining the exact type is crucial for appropriate treatment. Despite the age difference, HL is treated similarly in children and adults.

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Can lymphoma be diagnosed during pregnancy?

Lymphoma is common cancer identified during pregnancy in about 1:6000 births. Its prevalence may rise due to the tendency to defer conception until later in life and the high frequency of AIDS-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in developing nations. Due to the rarity of pregnancy-associated lymphoma, large, prospective trials examining diagnostic, treatment, and outcome issues are not feasible.

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How does age influence the treatment and prognosis of lymphoma?

In the case of Hodgkin lymphoma, the survival differential can be 40 or 50 percentage points worse in older patients vs. younger patients depending on that single criterion, age above or below 60 or 65." some experts explained that this is because in part to the consequences of aging, which might impair a patient's ability to tolerate treatment.

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What are treatment options available for managing lymphoma symptoms and treatment side effects?

Some of the most frequent therapies for adverse effects include:

  1. Active surveillance entails not treating your lymphoma until it creates symptoms that interfere with your activities. You may be subjected to periodic testing to check your status till then.
  2. Diet is essential to controlling lymphoma and its side effects, providing the body with the minerals and energy it requires for wellness. Many adverse effects impact how patients perceive food and eating.
  3. Fatigue can be caused by lymphoma and its treatment. Changing routines may aid in the completion of daily chores.
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How can I help someone with lymphoma?

Here is How You Can Assist a Loved One During Lymphoma Treatment:

1. Emotional Support: Listen to others and work together to make treatment decisions.

2. Question Handling: Act as a gatekeeper to moderate overwhelming support.

3. Maintain Routine: Follow procedures and distribute home responsibilities.

4. Appointment Scheduling and Advocacy: Manage appointments and express concerns, etc

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What are the myths versus facts about lymphoma?

  1. Myth 1: Lymphoma is contagious
    Fact: lymphoma is not contagious and can not spread from one person to another. The only possibility of cancer being contagious is when there is an organ or tissue transplantation. However, the chances of this are extremely rare as doctors undergo several tests and procedures before the process initialises.
  2. Myth 2: Sugar intake causes lymphoma.
    Fact: all cancer cells are indeed dependent on blood sugar for energy. However, one needs to know that eating sugar does not increase the growth of cancer cells, whereas sugar less diet does not cur the growth of cancer cells. However, consuming excessive quantity of sugar can lead to problems like diabetes and obesity.
  3. Myth 3: Lymphoma treatment is curable only through chemotherapy.
    Fact: While chemotherapy is a standard treatment option for lymphoma, it is not the only approach. The course of treatment depends on various factors, including the type and stage of lymphoma, individual patient characteristics, and treatment goals. Treatment plans may involve a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or stem cell transplantation.
  4. Myth 4: Lymphoma is always fatal.
    Fact: While lymphoma is severe, it is not always fatal. The prognosis for lymphoma varies depending on factors such as the type, stage, and response to treatment. Many individuals with lymphoma achieve remission or long-term survival with appropriate and timely treatment. Advances in treatment options and supportive care have significantly improved outcomes for patients with lymphoma.
  5. Myth 5: Alternative therapies can cure lymphoma.
    Fact: While complementary therapies and alternative treatments can support managing symptoms and promoting well-being, there is no scientific evidence to support claims of alternative therapies curing lymphoma. Discussing any complementary therapies with the healthcare team and relying on evidence-based medical treatments as the primary approach to lymphoma management is essential.
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All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. Types of Lymphoma [Internet]. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 2017. link
  2. What is Lymphoma: Signs, Symptoms, Types & Stages [Internet]. Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
  3. Lymphoma: Definition, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment [Internet]. Healthline. link
  4. Lymphoma - Symptoms and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. [cited 2023 Jun 16].link
  5. How to Prevent Lymphoma: Is It Possible? [Internet].
  6. Lymphoma: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Treatments, and Prognosis [Internet]. Healthline. 2015 [cited 2023 Jun 16]. link
  7. Hodgkin Lymphoma Diagnosis | Tests for Hodgkin Lymphoma [Internet].
  8. Watson S. What Is Lymphoma? [Internet]. WebMD. WebMD; 2015. link
  9. Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Protocol by Stage [Internet]. link
  10. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma - Care at Mayo Clinic - Mayo Clinic [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jun 16]. link
  11. Advanced Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Options and Expectations [Internet]. Healthline. 2018. link
  12. Hodgkin Lymphoma Survival Rates | Hodgkin Disease Survival Rates [Internet].
  13. Survival Rates and Factors That Affect Prognosis (Outlook) for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jun 16]. link
  14. Robinson KM. Can I Delay Treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma? [Internet].
  15. National Cancer Institute. Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions [Internet]. National Cancer Institute.; 2018. link
  16. Popular myths about the causes of cancer [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2018. link
  17. 17.Hodby K, Fields PA. Management of lymphoma in pregnancy. Obstetric Medicine. 2009 May;2(2):46–

Updated on : 28 June 2023


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

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