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.
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.
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.
Lymphoma in lymph nodes, also referred to as a lymph node tumor, refers to the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells in the lymph node. Lymph nodes are bean-shaped organs responsible for filtering out dead cells, cellular waste, and cancerous cells from the body.
As the name suggests, lymphoma in the spleen implies the growth of cancerous cells in the spleen, an organ responsible for filtering blood and removing old, worn-out platelets and red blood cells.
Lymphoma in the thymus refers to the growth of a malignant tumor in the thymus, a small organ situated in the chest. The thymus produces T cells, a type of white blood cell responsible for fighting infections.
Lymphoma in the bone marrow implies cancer that either originates in the bone marrow or has spread from lymph nodes to the marrow.
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'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.
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:
Mantle Cell Lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma subtype, and it is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of B lymphocytes in the mantle zone, or outer layer, of the lymph nodes.
Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma is a subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma blood cancer. It initiates in the skin and is classified by the unrestricted development of B lymphocytes.
Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma refers to a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma blood cancer affecting the skin and classified by the uncontrolled growth of the T lymphocytes.
Burkitt's Lymphoma is one of the most aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma types, which initiates in the B lymphocytes and mainly affects the lymph nodes. The cancer has been named after a British surgeon, Denis Burkitt, who primarily described the characteristics of Burkitt's Lymphoma.
Follicular Lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma blood cancer that implies the unrestrained growth of B lymphocytes in the lymph nodes and other significant lymphoid tissues.
Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma refers to a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma blood cancer that arises from the T lymphocytes in the immune system and is characterized by the growth of anaplastic cells.
Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas are a rare subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that arises from mature T lymphocytes in the immune system.
Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is a rare non-Hodgkin's lymphoma subtype that is characterized by the overproduction of monoclonal immunoglobulin M (IgM), an antibody, in the human body.
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.