With lymphoma, patients have enlarged lymph nodes filled with cancer cells. This rare cancer also is called cancer of the lymphatic system.

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the cells of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the part of your body that helps fight off diseases. There are many different types of lymphoma. They are categorized as Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Lymphoma risk factors

People with a specific medical history may be at higher risk of lymphoma. Medical conditions linked to lymphoma include:

  • Epstein-Barr virus infection

  • Having had a case of (confirmed) mononucleosis

  • HIV infection

  • HTLV infection (human T-cell lymphocytotropic virus)

  • Some rare inherited syndromes

  • Association with some autoimmune disorders

It is important to know that not everyone who has one of these factors will develop lymphoma and that you can’t catch it from anyone else.

Lymphoma Symptoms

Lymphoma symptoms

A person with lymphoma may have a variety of symptoms. The symptoms can mirror other conditions. So it is important to see your primary care provider if you are having any of these signs:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes

  • Swollen abdomen (belly)

  • Feeling full after eating a small amount of food

  • Shortness of breath or coughing

  • Fever

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Night sweats

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)

Lymphoma Diagnosis

Variety of tests help to diagnose lymphoma

 In addition to a physical exam and providing a medical history, patients may undergo a biopsy of the affected area. Other tests include:

  • Routine blood work

  • Bone marrow biopsy X-rays

  • CT scan

  • MRI

  • Ultrasound

Lymphoma Treatment

Your doctor will discuss treatment options

If you are diagnosed with lymphoma, your healthcare provider will discuss your treatment options with you. You may be referred to an oncologist, a doctor that specializes in cancer treatment. The main types of treatment options are:

  • Chemotherapy

  • Immunotherapy

  • Targeted therapy

  • Radiation

  • Stem cell transplant

  • Surgery

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