Cancer Types


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Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma

   ACS Lymphoma Site
   ASCO Lymphoma Site
   Anatomy from Gray's
   CancerNet (NCI) Lymphoma Page
   E-Medicine and here and here and here
   Medline Plus Lymphoma Site
   NCCN Patient Lymphoma Guide
   NIH Booklet for NHL
   Lymph Node Diagram
   Review article
   Up to Date: here, here, here, here
   Xray appearance

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lymph node


Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network that is spread throughout the body. In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, tumors develop from white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the lymphatic system, often at different locations in the body.

Normally, lymphocytes go through a predictable life cycle. Old lymphocytes die, and the body creates new ones to replace them. But in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the body produces abnormal lymphocytes that continue to divide and grow without control. This oversupply of lymphocytes crowds into the lymph nodes, causing them to swell. The disease occurs in more than 20 types.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma accounts for about 4 percent of all new cancers in the United States. The disease is more than seven times as common as the other general type of lymphoma — Hodgkin's disease. About 54,000 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are diagnosed annually in the United States. Each year the disease accounts for about 24,000 deaths in the United States.

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PET scan showing lymphoma in lymph nodes

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has been one of the most rapidly increasing types of cancer in the United States since the 1970s. The good news is that the rate of increase slowed in the 1990s. And, although the incidence has increased, so has the survival rate. Today, the overall 5-year survival rate is about 50 percent.
PET scans (see pictures: #1 and #2 and #3) are the best study for lymphoma, but CT scan will often show the enlarged lymph nodes