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- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma facts
- What is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What are non-Hodgkin's lymphoma risk factors?
- What are non-Hodgkin's lymphoma symptoms and signs?
- How do physicians diagnose non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What are the types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and how is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma staging determined?
- What is the treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- What is the prognosis and survival rate for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
- Where can people find more information about non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
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What are the types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and how is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma staging determined?
NHL is classified into many different types. Several classification systems exist for NHL, including the Revised European American Lymphoma Classification, which is the foundation for the WHO lymphoma classification. The classifications use cell types and defining other characteristics. Basically there are three large groups: the B cell, T cell, and natural killer cell tumors.
Newer techniques such as immunophenotyping (a way to study the proteins on a cell and identify the precise types of B or T cells that are involved) are used to diagnose and classify lymphomas. This technique is especially useful in the case of B cell lymphomas.
Testing of DNA from the lymphoma is used to detect gene defects that help determine the prognosis and response to treatment.
To plan the best treatment for NHL, a health-care provider needs to stage (know the extent of) the disease. This is an attempt to find out what part of the body is involved.
Different tests are involved in the staging process, and they can include the following:
- Bone marrow biopsy (see above)
- CT scan
- PET scan: Radioactive material is injected, and a CT scan is performed to determine the metabolism of this material. Lymphoma cells show faster metabolism than normal cells, and areas with lymphoma look brighter on the pictures.
Doctors will also stage the lymphoma based on spread of the disease and organ involvement as well as symptoms:
- Stage I: The cells are found in only one lymph node area (such as in the neck or axilla). Or, if the abnormal cells are not in the lymph nodes, they are in only one part of a tissue or organ (such as the lung, but not the liver or bone marrow).
- Stage II: The lymphoma cells are found in at least two lymph node areas on the same side of the body or only above or below the diaphragm. Or the cells are in one organ and the lymph nodes affected are near that organ.
- Stage III: The lymphoma is in lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm. There might be spread into an organ near this lymph node group.
- Stage IV: In addition to lymph cell spread, lymphoma cells are found in several parts of one or more organs or tissues.
- A: No symptoms (The individual has not had weight loss, fever, or night sweats.)
- B: Presence of any of the following symptoms: weight loss (10 % or more in the last six months), fever (greater than 101.5 F) night sweats, or severe itching