What Are the 2 Types of Lymphoma
Lymphomas are blood cancers that are typically divided into two types: Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin. Learn about types, symptoms, and treatment

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that develops in the immune cells called lymphocytes. Establishing a correct diagnosis is crucial to ensuring that the right treatment plan is prescribed.

While there may be more than 70 distinct varieties of lymphomas ranging from slow-growing to highly aggressive, lymphomas are typically divided into two types:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma: Cancer of the lymphatic system
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Cancer that develops in white blood cells

There are two main types of lymphocytes: B-lymphocytes (B-cells) and T-lymphocytes (T-cells). These cancerous cells can spread in the body through the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, and other organs.

Common types of lymphomas include:

What is chronic lymphocytic leukemia?

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow produces an excess amount of lymphocytes and releases them into the bloodstream. CLL is commonly seen in adults and rarely seen in children.

The development of CLL is so slow that it may take years for the cancer cells to grow and spread throughout the body. CLL typically develops in B-cells, but there are rare forms of CLL seen in other types of lymphocytes.

Symptoms of CLL

CLL may be asymptomatic, and the disease is often diagnosed during regular blood work. However, symptoms that may occur in later stages include:

  • Sensation of fullness or pain below the ribs
  • Swelling of lymph nodes in various regions of the body
  • Infection
  • Fever of unknown origin
  • Easy bruising or tendency to bleed
  • Petechiae (black pinpoint spots on the skin that indicate bleeding)
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss for no apparent cause
  • Sweating profusely at night

Treatment of CLL

CLL is a slow-growing blood cancer that may not require active management immediately after diagnosis. However, if treatment is required, options may include:

  • Monoclonal antibodies or immunotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant
  • Supportive care


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What is cutaneous B-cell lymphoma?

Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma is a rare nonmelanoma skin cancer that develops in the B-cells and spreads to the skin. It is further divided into four types:

  1. Primary cutaneous follicle center lymphoma
  2. Primary cutaneous marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
  3. Primary cutaneous diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, leg type
  4. Intravascular diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Symptoms of CBCL

Symptoms of CBCL include:

Treatment of CBCL

Treatment for CBCL depends on the type of lymphoma and may include:

What is cutaneous T-cell lymphoma?

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a rare nonmelanoma skin cancer that develops in T-cells. T-cells in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma acquire defects that cause them to attack the skin.

Symptoms of CTCL

Symptoms of CTCL include:

  • Skin patches that seem lighter in tone than the surrounding skin
  • Growth of lumps on the skin that may rupture
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Raised, itchy, and scaly patches of the skin
  • Thinning of hair
  • Thickening of the skin on the palms and soles

Treatment of CTCL

Treatment option for CTCL depends on the stage of the lymphoma and may include:

  • Topical application of skin creams and ointments
  • Phototherapy (cancerous part of the skin is exposed to different wavelengths of ultraviolet rays)
  • Photopheresis (technique where the patient is administered a drug that increases photosensitivity and connected to a machine that filters the patient’s blood, treats it with ultraviolet rays, and sends it back into the body)
  • Medications
  • Radiotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant

What is Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia?

Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, also called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells that impair circulation.

Symptoms of WM

WM may not always cause symptoms at all. If symptoms do occur, they may include:

Treatment for WM

Treatment for WM may involve a hematologist, medical oncologist, or radiation oncologist depending on the treatment plan. Treatment options may include:

  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Biological therapy or immunotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant
  • Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy


What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma? See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 12/6/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Types of Lymphoma. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/types/lymphoma/types

American Cancer Society. What Is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia/about/what-is-cll.html

DermNet New Zealand. Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/cutaneous-b-cell-lymphoma

DermNet New Zealand. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/cutaneous-t-cell-lymphoma

American Cancer Society. What Is Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/waldenstrom-macroglobulinemia/about/what-is-wm.html