What is Lymphoma - Overview & It's Types

Lymphoma is a cancer that initiates in the cells responsible for fighting infections in the immune system. These white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are mostly present in the lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.

These lymphocytes travel through the lymphatic system in a fluid called lymph. The lymph travels through glands called lymph nodes and helps in removing cellular waste, dead cells, etc., from the human body and fighting infections.

To answer the question, “What is lymphoma?”, lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. Lymphoma cancer develops when the white blood cells in the lymphatic system grow without any control.

What is Lymphoma?

As the name suggests, cancer of the lymph nodes is characterized by abnormalities in the immune system. Unchecked growth of lymphocytes hampers the body's abilities to fight infections and results in a reduction in the number of healthy red blood cells and platelets.

There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Each of these types of lymphoma is further classified into various subtypes depending on the type of cells from which the cancer originates.

Where does it Commonly Form?

Lymphoma can form anywhere in the body where there are lymphocytes. Mostly, these lymphocytes are found in the spleen, bone marrow, thymus, and lymph nodes.

What are the Different Types of Lymphoma?

Lymphoma classification is done by considering multiple factors, such as its cell type, clinical behavior, genetic features, and appearance under the microscope. Broadly, all types of lymphoma can be divided into two main groups: Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and both of these types are further classified.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Classification

Hodgkin's lymphoma's meaning has been explained in simple terms as the cancer of B-cells in the immune system. B-cells are the white blood cells responsible for fighting infections and producing antibodies.

Hodgkin’s or Hodgkin Lymphoma types can be classified into two further subtypes: Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Classification

The non-Hodgkin's lymphoma definition is that it is a type of cancer that may either affect B-cells or T-cells. There are 8 types of lymphoma cancer under this type, which include:


The Internet is filled with queries like “What is lymphoma disease?”, “Lymphoma cancer meaning”, etc. However, it is also filled with information that may or may not be understood by all.

In simple terms, lymphoma refers to cancer of the lymphatic system. By affecting the lymphatic system, it hampers the body’s ability to fight infections and other bodily functions. It is important to be mindful of the different symptoms associated with lymphoma and promptly see a doctor when something is not normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

The seriousness of lymphoma blood cancer depends on the type, the stage, the status of metastasis, and the patient’s overall health status. A cancer that is aggressive and has metastasized from its original location to other parts of the body is considered serious and will need a comprehensive treatment regimen.

Stage 4 lymphoma, or advanced lymphoma, refers to lymphoma that has spread to organs outside the lymphatic system, such as the lungs.

Burkitt’s lymphoma is considered one of the most aggressive and serious types of lymphoma.

The exact cause of this cancer type is unknown, but there are certain factors that can increase the chances of it occurring. These factors include increasing age, genetic conditions, family history, and certain infections.

The survival rates of lymphoma depend significantly on factors such as an early diagnosis, the type of the lymphoma, the patient's age and health condition, and the stage of the cancer.

Neck lymphoma, also called cervical lymphoma, refers to the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells in the lymph nodes present in the neck.

No, lymphoma is not found to be hereditary. However, those with close relatives diagnosed with lymphoma have a relatively higher risk of developing this disease.

Yes, lymphoma cases are treatable. There are many treatment options, namely chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy, available for the successful management of lymphoma.

However, early-stage lymphomas are relatively easier to treat when compared to advanced-stage lymphomas. In other words, early detection plays a significant role in the success of the treatment. Therefore, one should not ignore symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, cough, rashes, shortness of breath, and pain in joints, especially if they last for more than two weeks.

Although there are no known ways to prevent lymphoma completely, there are a few measures that can help you reduce your lymphoma risk:

  • Quit Smoking: Smoking is reported to increase specific types of lymphoma. Therefore, quitting smoking can help reduce lymphoma risk among adults.
  • Avoid Exposing Yourself to Certain Harmful Chemicals: Certain chemicals, namely formaldehyde, benzene, pesticides, weedicides, etc., can increase your lymphoma risk. Consider wearing a mask, goggles, gloves, and protective clothing in order to reduce your exposure to these chemicals.

In a few cases, lymphoma can come back a few years after treatment. Therefore, it is important for lymphoma patients to keep up their follow-up appointments without fail. These follow-ups play an important role in preventing recurrences and catching them in the early stages.