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Out of the Ordinary

Lymphoma cancers: What are they?

Janelle Vreeland

Micrograph of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

Lymphoma cancer can be “Hodgkin lymphoma” or “non-Hodgkin lymphoma”

Lymphoma cancer is in the news following the death of Andy Whitfield. But many people are unfamiliar with lymphoma cancer and its characteristics. So, what is lymphoma cancer?

Really, we should ask what are lymphoma cancers, as there are actually two types with several variations within each type. The first type is generally referred to as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the cancer that Whitfield died from. The National Cancer Institute says that generally, non-Hodgkin lymphoma can refer to “[a]ny of a large group of cancers of lymphocytes (white blood cells).” Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age and its characteristics include larger than normal lymph nodes, weight loss and fever. This type of lymphoma cancer can be either aggressive or indolent and can occur in T-cells or B-cells.

The second type of lymphoma cancer is Hodgkin lymphoma. This type of lymphoma cancer is marked by the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell and includes classical Hodgkin lymphoma and nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. Symptoms for this type include a painless enlargement of the lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss and fatigue. This type of lymphoma cancer is commonly referred to as Hodgkin disease.

For more information about the types of lymphoma cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute.

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