Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

NON-HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA lymph node

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

Cancer arising in the lymphatic system and affecting its lymphocyte cells is known as lymphoma. This can be of two types, namely, Hodgkin’s lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). These two types are distinct in their patterns of progression and symptoms. Under the microscope, a Hodgkin’s lymphoma is identified by the presence of malignant cells called Reed-Sternberg cells (RS cells).

When these are absent, the lymphoma is classified as NHL. However, the common feature of both forms of cancer is that the patient’s immunity is severely affected. This is because the main function of the lymphatic system is to ensure that the body remains free of infection and it is this function that is impaired as a result of malignancy.

What Is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

NON-HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA nightsweatsNon-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that arises in the lymphocyte cells of the lymphatic tissue.

There are two main types of lymphocytes, namely, B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes (B-cells and T-cells).

Either kind might be implicated in NHL. Since lymphocytes are present in the lymph nodes and other lymphatic organs such as the spleen and bone marrow, this form of cancer can arise in any of these locations and give rise to tumors.

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What Is Responsible For Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

The lymphatic system is an important component of the body’s circulatory system. Instead of blood, however, it is a clear fluid called lymph and lymphocyte cells that travel through channels known as lymph vessels. Lymphoid tissue composed of lymphocytes is present in various organs including the lymph nodes, spleen, adenoid, tonsils, bone marrow and digestive system.

The lymphatic system, thus, forms a network that is spread across the entire body. Lymphoma can arise in any of these locations when lymphocyte cells turn malignant and begin to multiply at increased rates.

Malignancy in B-cells or T-cells arises when there are certain changes in the genetic material of these cells causing them to multiply abnormally and refuse to die when they get old or worn out. Certain factors increase the chances of this occurring.

Proven risk factors are listed below:

  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals (like benzene), certain pesticides and chemotherapy drugs are associated with an elevated risk of developing NHL.
  • Being overweight or obese is a risk factor in some instances of NHL.
  • Having certain kinds of infections can increase the likelihood of having NHL. Infections caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV-1) and human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) are known to induce malignant transformations in lymphocyte cells.
  • The risk for developing certain types of NHL increases with age, while other forms are more likely to affect younger individuals. Most often, persons over 60 years of age tend to develop NHL.
  • Accidental, occupational or therapeutic exposure to radiation.
  • Scar tissue associated with breast implants can develop a certain type of NHL called anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
  • Pre-existing weakness or abnormalities in immunity. This could be in the form of HIV infection, hereditary immune deficiency or even as a result of taking immunosuppressant medications for organ transplantation. Having autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus is also a potential risk factor.
  • Generally speaking, men are at a higher risk of developing NHL. However, certain forms of NHL are more common in women than men.
  • Statistics show that NHL is more common in developed countries, particularly in North America and Europe.
  • Certain racial groups are more susceptible than others. In the context of the USA, white Americans tended to exhibit greater susceptibility than Asian-Americans or African-Americans.

Not all of the above risk factors are necessarily pertinent to all types of NHL.



What Are The Possible Symptoms?

The most common sign is enlargement of the lymph nodes. However, NHL can take many forms and occur in any of several possible locations. Hence, symptoms vary accordingly. Some common symptoms are:

  • Swollen lymph nodes. The swelling is usually painless.
  • Fever.
  • Excessive sweating at night.
  • Itching.
  • Distended abdomen.
  • Feeling short of breath.
  • A cough.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Fatigue.
  • Anemia.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Petechiae or small darkened spots beneath the skin indicating bleeding from ruptured capillaries.
  • Abnormally heavy menstrual periods.
  • Weight loss.

What is the Classification of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas?

NON-HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA lymph nodeThe most widely accepted scheme of classification is that endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

It takes into account the histological features of cancer cells, chromosomal indicators as well as protein formations on cell surfaces.

It recognizes two main categories of NHL on the basis of whether malignancy arises in B-cells or T-cells.

NHL exhibiting B-cell malignancy accounts for a majority of cases and can be of the following kinds:

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: This form is characterized by rapidly growing masses composed of large cells. Often these masses arise within lymph nodes but they can also appear in the brain or intestines. This type is likely to affect persons older than 60 years of age, yet it often indicates a good prognosis. Further, cure is possible.

Follicular lymphoma: This type is so named because the cancer cells tend to grow in circular formations within lymph nodes or bone marrow. Although the rate of growth is slow, this type is difficult to cure. About a third of these cases progress into diffuse large B-cell lymphomas.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL): These types exhibit small lymphocytes, a specific form of a cancer cell. Some sources treat CLL and SLL as the same. Both forms tend to progress slowly, although CLL is the slower of the two. While CLL tends to affect the blood and bone marrow, SLL is more likely to affect the spleen and lymph nodes. CLL is more common. At present, it is not possible to cure either type.

Mantle cell lymphoma: This type is more likely to appear in men than women and often affects individuals older than 60. It generally affects the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and the spleen.

Marginal zone B-cell lymphoma: This is a slow-growing type that tends to affect persons older than 65 years of age. It is characterized by cancer cells that appear relatively small upon histological examination.

Burkitt lymphoma and Burkitt-like lymphoma: One variety of Burkitt lymphoma is endemic to Africa, affecting the jaw or other facial bones. This is a high grade or rapidly growing form and often suggests a history of Epstein-Barr virus infection. The other type has no correlation with a viral infection and tends to form tumors in the abdomen or ovaries, spreading to other locations from there. Most often, Burkitt lymphoma tends to affect men.

Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma: This is a rather rare type. It affects the bone marrow, lymph nodes and spleen.

Hairy cell leukemia: Under the microscope, these cancer cells appear surrounded by projections, earning them the moniker ‘hairy cells’. This form of NHL affects the bone marrow, spleen and blood. There is generally a good outlook for recovery following treatment.

Primary central nervous system lymphoma: This type tends to affect the brain, spinal cord or the areas around the eye and produces neurological symptoms. It is more common in patients with weak immunity and indicates a high risk of mortality.

NHL having to do with T-cell malignancy is comparatively rare. It can be of the following types:

  • Precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma/leukemia: This usually arises in the thymus which is a major center for the production of T-cells. This form of NHL, unlike many others, tends to affect young adults. The tumor is a fast growing one and the outlook is good as long as malignancy does not progress to the bone marrow.
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphomas: Unlike the other type of T-cell associated NHL, this type tends to involve more mature forms of T-cells. This category encompasses several subtypes including cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma among others.

Of these types, three are likely to also affect children and teenagers. These are Burkitt lymphoma, lymphoblastic lymphoma, and large cell lymphoma. All these are fast growing or high-grade cancers.

What Are The Potential Complications?

Certain forms of NHL tend to respond well to treatment. Others are difficult to cure and indicate a higher risk of mortality. Hence, as in the case of many other kinds of cancer, fatality is a possible adverse outcome of NHL.

Possible complications are:

  • Weak immunity.
  • Increased chances of developing other forms of cancer.
  • Depression.
  • Death.

What Is The Process of Diagnosing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Tests for diagnosing NHL include:

  • Physical examination. The patient will usually have swollen lymph nodes although other signs such as swollen abdomen and petechiae may also be present.
  • Medical history. There may be evidence of past viral infection that could have a bearing on the NHL. Or the patient may have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the past.
  • Blood and urine tests help rule out infection as the primary cause of symptoms. Infections may otherwise be present as a result of weakened immunity.
  • Tissue biopsy. A sample of tissue from an affected lymph node or from the bone marrow will be examined under the microscope. A biopsy can also take into account samples of cerebrospinal fluid or pleural fluid.

Treatment and prevention

Treatments for this condition are –

  • Chemotherapy – This is the most common treatment for a disease like cancer. Here, a drug is ingested into the system orally pill – or intravenously through the vein or the muscle.
  • Stem cell transplant -All patients are not eligible for this kind of treatment. The cells are removed from the bone marrow – along with the abnormal ones – and replaced with new ones.
  • Radiation – High power beams are used to cure cancers and tumors. Radiation can be done alone to treat the problem or use other treatments.
  • Medication -Can be used to boost the immune system or to enhance the medicinal isotopes to bind cancer cells.

Preventions – Since there are no sure shot preventions for this condition, there are certain steps that you can take to reduce the risk of developing this condition:

  • Limiting the risk of certain infections, by taking extra care of your immunity.
  • Avoid the risk of HIV, an intravenous drug, and unprotected sex.
  • Try staying away from immunosuppressant drugs – as this can lead to the development of lymphoma.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • If you notice any of the symptoms – swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin, abdominal pain or swelling, persistent fatigue etc. get an appointment with your doctor immediately.
  • If diagnosed with NHL, join a support group to help you with the healing process.
  • Take appropriate steps to strengthen your immune system – medication (take immune system strengthening medication prescribed by your doctor), food (have immune system enriching food) etc.
Don'ts
  • Take any immunosuppressant drugs after a transplant. Expose yourself to chemicals that are used to kill insects.
  • Neglect your immune system if you are over the age of 60-years-old.

 

 

 

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reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
elements 22 test
Element 22 test (Nutrients & Toxicity) The element 22 test is used for measuring and monitoring the levels of heavy metals and some nutrients…
Period sanitary napkin-menstruaion-blood-colors
Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
Medical conditions yoga can help with Yoga practitioners have outlined several health benefits of yoga and a daily yoga regimen can help in treating…
Medical conditions yoga can help with Yoga practitioners have outlined several health benefits of yoga and a daily yoga regimen can help in treating…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS liver
Hepatitis Profile A hepatitis profile or a hepatitis panel is a blood test that checks for markers of hepatitis infection…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
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Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
CERULOPLASMIN- triple marker
Triple Marker Test A triple marker test is an important prenatal test that is performed to detect the presence of chromosomal…
biopsy procedure
Biopsy Biopsy is a procedure of studying a live tissue sample collected from a specific organ for diagnosing a…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
10 reasons why you should up your selenium intake Selenium, though a trace mineral, is very much integral to your health. Find out how much selenium intake…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
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Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
hemoglobin variant analysis
Hemoglobin Variant Analysis Hemoglobin variant analysis is a blood test that is used to detect the presence of hemoglobin variants which…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
thyroxine t4 test
T4 (Thyroxine) Hormone Test The T4 or thyroxine blood test is an important diagnostic tool that gives a clear picture of how…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Exercises or diet? Find out the healthiest way to gain weight Tired of being called skinny all the time? Looking for healthy ways to beef up? Why not try…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
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Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
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Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
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12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…

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