Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma – About
Other Names: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, NHL and ‘Lymphoma’.
A lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymph tissues found in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, adenoids and tonsils, stomach and the intestinal tract.
Lymphomas are primarily categorized into two main types -Hodgkins Lymphoma and Non -Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Hodgkins Lymphoma (HL), was first identified as a new disease by Dr. Thomas Hodgkin in 1832. All other lymphomas are grouped as non-Hodgkins lymphomas.
Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) is an assortment of a wide array of lymphomas, which outnumber the Hodgkins variety. Until recent times, the NHL subtypes were not distinguishable. The growth of molecular genetics, in leaps and bounds, has revealed that NHL comprises of several subtypes.
Although the disease has the potential to develop in any part of the body, they are usually initiated in the lymph nodes, neck, armpit or groin. Due to the connections between the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the lymphocytes, lymphomas may first arise in the brain or CNS, not necessarily due to metastasis. The malignant cells then reach out to the other lymph nodes through the lymphatic system. They further spread to other organs through the bloodstream.
Certain categories of NHLs bear a semblance to certain leukemias such as the acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose or differentiate these diseases; hence the patient is referred to as having NHL/ALL or NHL/CLL. However, most lymphomas trace their origin to a lymph node or another solid organ while the leukemias are initiated in the bone marrow.