Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is one of the most common forms of cancer (about 4%). According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 estimated statistics, about 74,680 people will be diagnosed with NHL, and about almost 20,000 deaths will result from it.
Causes of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Although it is unclear what causes non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, it has been linked with certain risk factors:
- Race/ethnicity/geography (higher in whites and in the U.S. and Europe)
- Exposure to certain chemicals and drugs
- Radiation exposure
- Having a weakened immune system
- Autoimmune diseases
- Certain infections
- Body weight/diet
- Breast implants
Symptoms of NON-HODGKIN Lymphoma
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
- Feeling full after a small amount of food
- Chest pain/pressure
- Cough/shortness of breath
- Severe/frequent infections
- Easy bruising/bleeding
- Itchy skin
Other signs/symptoms not listed above are specific to certain parts of the body where the lymphoma is present:
- Double vision
- Facial numbness
- Trouble speaking
Diagnosis of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Medical history/physical exam
- Imaging tests
- Blood tests
- Tests of heart/lung function
Staging of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
The diagnostic tests not only help in making the diagnosis but also in determining the stage of cancer.
Stage I: The lymphoma is only in one lymph node area or lymphoid organ. OR The cancer is only in one area of a single organ outside the lymph system.
Stage II: The lymphoma is in two or more groups of lymph nodes on the same side of the diaphragm. OR It is in a group of lymph nodes and in one area of a nearby organ. It may also affect other groups of lymph nodes on the same side of the diaphragm.
Stage III:The lymphoma is in lymph node areas above AND below the diaphragm. OR It is in lymph nodes above the diaphragm and in the spleen.
Stage IV: The lymphoma has spread widely into at least one organ outside the lymph system (bone marrow, liver, lung).
Treatment of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Treatments options include the following:
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Stem cell transplant
- Surgery (rare)
Prevention of Hodgkin Lymphoma
Since the cause is still unknown, it is not possible to prevent NHL.What you can do to lower your risk is maintain a healthy immune system and avoid certain infections.