Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the lymphatic system, a component of the body’s immune system. The lymphatic system is made up of various tissues and organs, including the lymph nodes, tonsils, bone marrow, spleen, and the lymphatic vessels that carry a fluid called lymph throughout the body.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs when the body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Over time, these cancerous lymphocytes can invade and destroy healthy tissues. These abnormal cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Some are very slow-growing and may not require treatment immediately, while others are more aggressive and fast-growing and often require intensive therapy. The exact cause of NHL is unknown, but risk factors can include a weakened immune system, certain viral and bacterial infections, older age, and exposure to certain chemicals.

Symptoms often include swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, sweating excessively, especially at night, fatigue or tiredness, and shortness of breath or cough.

Treatment varies depending on the type and stage of the lymphoma, and may include chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, or medication to boost the immune system.

Causes of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, which is the body’s disease-fighting network. While the exact cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not known, several factors are believed to increase the risk of developing this disease:

1. Age: The risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma increases with age; it is most likely to occur in people who are 60 or older.

2. Exposure to certain chemicals: Certain chemicals, including those used in agriculture and the chemical benzene, are linked with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

3. Immune system deficiency: Having a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS or from drugs taken for a transplant, increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

4. Autoimmune diseases: Conditions that trigger your immune system to attack your own cells may increase your risk.

5. Certain infections: Certain viral and bacterial infections which transform lymphocytes increases the risk, such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1), Hepatitis C, and H. pylori infection.

6. Previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy for another cancer also increases the risk.

7. Often, people who get non-Hodgkin lymphoma have no known risk factors. And many people who have risk factors for the disease do not end up getting it.

Remember, having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors.

Risk Factors of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates from cells in the lymphatic system, specifically lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. While the exact cause remains unknown, there are several risk factors associated with developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma:

1. Age: The risk of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma increases with age. It is most common in people who are 60 or older, although it can occur at any age.

2. Gender: Overall, the chance of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is slightly higher in men than in women.

3. Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune systems, due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, those taking immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant, or having an autoimmune disease, have an increased risk.

4. Certain Infections: Viral and bacterial infections that suppress or alter the immune system, such as Epstein-Barr virus, Hepatitis C, and bacteria linked to stomach ulcers and certain types of immune disorders can increase the risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

5. Exposure to Certain Chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, like those used in agriculture, chemicals like benzene, and certain types of chemotherapies and radiation, may increase the risk.

6. Family History: While it doesn’t often run in families, people who have a close family member with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma have a slightly increased chance of developing the condition.

7. Previous Cancer Treatment: People who have been previously treated for cancer with radiation or chemotherapy have an increased risk.

8. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors such as a diet high in fats and meats, certain forms of obesity, and lack of physical activity may be associated with an increased risk. Although more research is needed to better understand the impacts of these factors.

Knowing your risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma can help you make more informed decisions about your health. However, having one or even several risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop the disease. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your risk.

Signs and Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) can cause various symptoms. In some cases, individuals may not experience any symptoms at all until the disease is quite advanced. However, some common signs and symptoms of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:

1. Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.

2. Abdominal pain or swelling, often caused by an enlarged spleen or lymph node.

3. Chest pain, coughing, or trouble breathing, caused by enlarged lymph nodes in the chest.

4. Fatigue or lethargy, resulting from the body fighting the disease.

5. Fever which is usually high and persistent.

6. Drenching night sweats which can be severe enough to soak your bedding.

7. Unexplained weight loss, typically occurs rapidly and without a known reason.

8. Appetite loss, due to a feeling of fullness in the abdomen or from the general fatigue and ill feeling.

9. Shortness of breath.

10. Itchy skin or skin rash.

11. Frequent infections, due to lymphoma affecting the immune system.

12. Persistent cough can be a sign if the lymphoma affects the lymph nodes in the chest.

Remember, having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health issues. Therefore, if you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical advice to identify the cause and begin appropriate treatment.

Diagnosis Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that originates in the cells of the lymphatic system, a part of the body’s immune system.

This disease encompasses a diverse group of cancers classified according to the characteristics of the lymphoma cells involved, including their shape, size, and specific features noted under a microscope. The symptoms of NHL include enlargement of the lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss, and fatigue.

The exact cause of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma isn’t known. It occurs when the body produces a large amount of abnormal lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps fight infections. These abnormal cells start to accumulate in the lymph nodes and cause the nodes to enlarge. Over time, these cancerous lymphocytes can impair your immune system function.

Diagnosis often involves physical examination for swollen lymph nodes, blood tests to assess overall health, imaging tests to spot tumors, and a biopsy to confirm NHL and determine its type. Staging is also part of diagnosis, which is a process to find out how far the disease has spread.

The treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies depending on the stage of the disease, type of lymphoma, the person’s age, and overall health status. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant, or a combination of these.

Treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the cells of the lymphatic system. It’s a broad term that encompasses many different subtypes of lymphoma. Here are some general themes in the treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a central part of the treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by preventing them from dividing. It can be given as a local therapy (specific area of body) or systemic therapy (the entire body).

2. Radiation Therapy: This is yet another common treatment option your doctor may consider. In radiotherapy, high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation are used to kill cancer cells or hinder their growth.

3. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, aims to boost the body’s immune system to better fight against cancer. One example is the use of monoclonal antibodies that attach to cancer cells, helping the immune system recognize and destroy them.

4. Stem Cell Transplant: This procedure involves the replacement of a patient’s unhealthy bone marrow with healthy stem cells, which help to stimulate the development of new marrow.

5. Targeted Therapy: This is a newer treatment option that uses drugs to target specific elements of cancer cells, stealing away their ability to divide or grow.

6. Radioimmunotherapy: In this treatment, radioactive particles are linked to antibodies that target cancer cells, delivering radiation directly to these cells.

7. CAR T-cell Therapy: This new treatment modifies the patient’s own T cells (a type of immune cell) to recognize and attack their lymphoma cells.

It’s crucial to understand that the treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma varies greatly depending on the type and stage of the lymphoma, the patient’s age, and overall health. All of these factors are carefully considered by the healthcare team in order to decide on the best possible treatment.

As with any serious illness, supportive care, such as managing the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, remains an important part of the overall care plan. Regular follow-ups after treatment is also vital to monitor the patient’s condition and manage any complications promptly.

Given the complexity and seriousness of this health condition, this should be discussed with your healthcare provider or a specialist, who can guide treatment decisions based on the circumstances of the individual case.

Medications commonly used for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is often treated with a combination of therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. The type of medication usually depends on the actual type of Non-Hodgkin’s, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s overall health. Here are several types of medications that are commonly used:

1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves drugs that kill fast-growing cells, including lymphoma cells. Drugs commonly used include Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine, and Prednisone (known collectively as CHOP).

2. Monoclonal antibodies: These are a type of immunotherapy. Rituximab (Rituxan), for example, is a type of drug that targets the CD20 protein on the surface of B-cell lymphomas, allowing your immune system to target the cells more easily.

3. Radioimmunotherapy drugs: Ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin) and tositumomab (Bexxar) are treatments that combine monoclonal antibodies with radioactive substances, using the antibodies to deliver the radiation directly to cancer cells.

4. Immunomodulating drugs: These focus on boosting the immune system mechanisms to fight cancer cells. Examples include Lenalidomide (Revlimid) and Thalidomide (Thalomid).

5. Targeted therapy drugs: Targeted therapy drugs attack specific vulnerabilities in your cancer cells. They include ibrutinib (Imbruvica), idelalisib (Zydelig), duvelisib (Copiktra), and venetoclax (Venclexta).

6. CAR-T therapy: A new type of immunotherapy, like axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) and tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), where your own immune cells are changed in the lab to help them attack your cancer cells.

Please discuss with your healthcare provider to better understand which drug or combination of drugs will suit your case best as each case is unique. Dosage and administration of these drugs should be done under a doctor’s supervision only.

Prevention of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network throughout the body. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may occur at any age, but it’s most common among older adults.

While it can be difficult to prevent non-Hodgkin lymphoma because the cause of many types is not known, there are measures a person can take to reduce the risk. These include:

1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Keeping a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight may decrease your risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

2. Avoid environmental and occupational hazards: Some chemicals, such as pesticides, and certain occupations in agricultural and industrial jobs have been linked with a higher risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

3. Limit exposure to radiation: High levels of radiation exposure can increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

4. Protect yourself from infections: Certain infections like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus, Hepatitis C, and certain types of the human herpesvirus increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Take necessary precautions like practicing safe sex, frequent hand washing, and getting vaccinations.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

5. Regular medical check-ups: Regular medical check-ups can help detect the condition at an early stage when it’s easier to treat.

Remember to always consult with a healthcare provider or medical professional for personalized advice. There’s no sure way to prevent Non-Hodgkin lymphoma but having a healthy lifestyle will always benefit you.

FAQ’s about Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

1. What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the body’s disease-fighting network. It involves a type of white blood cells known as lymphocytes.

2. What are the symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin, abdominal pain or swelling, chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing, persistent fatigue, fevers or night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.

3. What causes Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
The exact cause is unknown, but factors that may increase the risk include having a weakened immune system, certain viral and bacterial infections, certain autoimmune diseases, and exposure to certain chemicals.

4. What are the different types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
There are many different forms of NHL, which are categorized by whether the disease originated in B lymphocytes (B-cell lymphomas) or T lymphocytes (T-cell lymphomas), and how quickly the cells are growing.

5. How is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnosed?
If Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is suspected, one or more of the following tests may be done: blood tests, imaging tests such as CT or PET scans, a biopsy of a lymph node or other tissue, and bone marrow testing.

6. What treatment options are available for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, stem cell transplant, or participation in a clinical trial studying new ways to treat this type of cancer.

7. Can Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma be prevented?
There is no known way to prevent this disease, but certain factors that may reduce the risk include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, staying physically active, and avoiding exposure to certain chemicals and avoiding certain infections.

8. Does Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma run in families?
While most people with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma do not have a family history of the disease, having a brother or sister with the disease may increase one’s risk.

9. What is the outlook for someone with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Survival rates depend on several factors, including the type and stage of the lymphoma, the patient’s age, health, and response to treatment. Overall, the outlook has improved significantly over the past few decades due to advancements in treatment.

10. Can someone live a normal life with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Yes, many people with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma can lead normal lives during and after treatment. However, it depends on the specific type of lymphoma, the stage of the disease, and the individual’s overall health.

Useful links

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in your lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout your body. This kind of lymphoma can be both slow growing (indolent) or fast-growing (aggressive), and the treatment varies accordingly.

Here are some useful links from medical journals and other sources for more useful and detailed information:


It’s always important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. Remember to always cross-verify the information gathered from the internet!

Complications of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer that starts in the white blood cells, specifically the lymphocytes. Its complications can severely affect a person’s health and quality of life. Some of the complications of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:

1. Infections: People with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma often have a weakened immune system, which makes them more susceptible to infections.

2. Pain or Discomfort: NHL can cause pain or discomfort, depending on where in the body the tumors develop. For example, if lymphoma cells are in the abdomen, they can cause bloating, pain, and a sense of fullness.

3. Anemia: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma might affect the production of red blood cells, resulting in anemia, which can lead to tiredness, shortness of breath, and other problems.

4. Kidney Problems: Some types of NHL can cause kidney problems, including kidney failure, if the lymphoma cells block the flow of urine from the kidneys.

5. Spinal Cord Compression: If NHL affects the lymph nodes near the spinal cord, it can cause spinal cord compression – a serious condition that needs immediate treatment to prevent long-term damage.

6. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome: If the lymphoma increases pressure on the superior vena cava (a large vein in the chest that leads directly to the heart), it might cause superior vena cava syndrome, leading to symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, and swelling in the face, neck, upper body, and arms.

7. Side Effects of Treatment: Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy for NHL can also cause side effects like nausea, hair loss, mouth sores, fatigue, and a higher risk of infection.

8. Secondary Cancers: After treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, there is a risk of developing a second type of cancer, such as lung cancer, melanoma, or leukemia.

9. Psychological Distress: Diagnosis and treatment of NHL can also lead to psychological distress, anxiety, and depression.

It’s critical to have a healthcare team that closely monitors for these complications and manages them properly to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Home remedies of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a serious condition that requires medical intervention; therefore, there are no effective home remedies to treat it. What a patient with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can do is adopt healthy habits to help cope with the treatment and its side effects. Here are some general suggestions:

1. Healthy eating: Maintain a balanced diet rich with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to boost your body’s immunity and strength.

2. Regular exercise: Consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Mild activities such as walking can help reduce fatigue and stress.

3. Adequate rest: Sleep is important for recovery. Make sure to sleep for at least 8 hours each night and rest when needed during the day.

4. Avoid germs: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and its treatment can weaken your immune system. Regular hand-washing and avoiding crowds or people with contagious diseases can help prevent infection.

5. Maintain a positive mindset: Connecting with family, friends, or support groups can help improve your mental health.

6. Limit alcohol: Consumption of alcohol might interfere with your treatment, hence its consumption should be limited or stopped entirely.

7. Avoid tobacco: Smoking can make your treatment less effective and can increase side effects and complications.

It’s important that these suggestions do not replace professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Categorized in:


Last Update: January 10, 2024