Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Around 75,000 Americans are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma every year.
01 | Introduction
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is a category of lymphomas — cancers that originate in lymph tissue. The exact cause of NHL is still unknown to doctors and researchers, but the lymphoma itself is understood as an excess of abnormal or mutated lymphocytes. The lymphocytes that are mainly affected are either T-cells or B-cells. Although NHL can be diagnosed via a liquid biopsy, it is most commonly detected after a solid tumor has amassed in the lymph tissue.
02 | Signs and Symptoms
It is possible that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma won’t present any symptoms until the tumor has grown to a substantial size. However, there are some symptoms that may indicate that the body is fighting NHL:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
Considering the majority of these symptoms are not unique to NHL, it can be difficult to distinguish it from other illnesses. It is when these symptoms become persistent that a doctor should be consulted.
03 | Risk Factors
Age is one of the most notable risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with diagnoses tending to occur later in life. Other risk factors for developing NHL include:
- The use of immunosuppressant drugs
- Preexisting autoimmune disease
- Exposure to chemicals such as weed and insect killers
- Infection of certain viruses or bacteria
- Family history of NHL
04 | Treatments
There are a variety of treatments available for patients battling NHL. These include chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants, immune-system-enhancing medication and other cancer targeted therapies. Patients will require different treatments depending on various factors, such as the type of NHL and how far the cancer has advanced.
For more information on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and supportive resources, please visit www.cancer.com/non-hodgkin-lymphoma