Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) is the most common form of Lymphoma. In fact, out of the 30 subtypes of Lymphoma, 25 types are Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL). That is, most cancers of the Lymphatic System are categorized as Non-Hodgkins Lymphomas.
Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is not a single disease, but rather a group of several closely related cancers that affect the Lymphatic System, which is part of the immune system.
NHL is broadly divided into two major groups:
- B-cell Lymphoma, which develops from abnormal B-Lymphocytes. This is the most common of NHL
- T-cell Lymphoma, which develop from abnormal T-Lymphocytes
NHL can develop in various locations in the body. For example, NHL can start in the lymph nodes, and also in specialized lymphatic organs, such as the spleen, or in lymph tissue found in organs, such as the stomach or intestines.
Lymphocytes (white blood cells) circulate via the lymphatic vessels and bloodstream to all parts of the body. As a result, the abnormal Lymphocytes can reach and enter any part of the body. Because of this, NHL can start in or spread to any part of the body.
While some NHLs may be localized to one area of the body, most have spread to other parts of the body by the time a diagnosis is confirmed.
Unlike other Lymphomas, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) can skip around the body, as opposed to Hodgkins Lymphoma (HL) which tends to spread in sequence from one lymph node to the next within the same area.
The most common symptoms of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) include:
- swelling of the lymph nodes (usually painless, and usually in the neck)
- night sweats
- unexplained weight loss
- lack of energy
Please Note: These symptoms may be caused by a range of conditions, and their presence does NOT necessarily mean that you have NHL. In fact, most people who have these symptoms will not have Lymphoma at all. However, anyone with several or more of these symptoms should seek immediate medical advice, especially if the symptoms are persistent.
People with Lymphoma (or another condition) often first go to a doctor because they think they have a cold, flu, or some other respiratory infection that does not go away.