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Lymphoma - non-Hodgkin's; NHL; B-cell lymphomas
Non-Hodgkinâ ' s Lymphoma
The non-Hodgkinâ ' s lymphomas (NHL) are a group of cancers that develop in the bodyâ ' s lymphatic system. There are many different types of non-Hodgkinâ ' s lymphoma. Most types of NHL involve B cells, while a small percentage involve T cells. Common types of B-cell non-Hodgkinâ ' s lymphomas include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and follicular lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkinâ ' s lymphomas are classified as indolent (slow-growing) or aggressive (fast-growing). Aggressive lymphomas, such as DLBCL, are often curable. Indolent lymphomas, such as follicular lymphoma, are more difficult to treat and tend to recur after periods of remission. With the advancement of new treatments and drugs, survival rates for patients with NHL have significantly improved.
The risk of NHL increases with age, and most patients are diagnosed when they are in their 60s and 70s. NHL can develop, however, in people of any age, including children. People who have had immune system impairment through infections, disease, or exposure to certain types of chemicals appear to have increased risk. Still, people without any known risk factors can develop NHL.
The most common first sign of lymphomas is painless enlargement of one or more lymph node, usually in the neck, armpits, or groin.
More generalized symptoms can include:
NHL is diagnosed based on the results of physical examination, blood tests, imaging tests, and biopsy. A lymph node biopsy is the definitive test for diagnosing NHL, determining the type of NHL, and distinguishing NHL from Hodgkinâ ' s disease.
Radiation and chemotherapy are the main treatments for NHL. Rituximab, a biologic drug, is increasingly being used and may be added to a chemotherapy regimen. For some patients, stem cell or bone marrow transplantation may be an option.
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