Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma can be defined as the proliferation of cancerous cells in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is like a network that spreads throughout the body and primarily shields the body against pathogens and helps in getting rid of them. Being a type of lymphatic cancer, the Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually originates in the white blood cells or lymphocytes. Also Read: Lymphoma: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
non hodgkin's lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is more common than the Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL), where the main difference is the presence of a type of abnormal cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell and the different treatment options.


Although the exact cause of NHL is yet to be discovered, many researches show that it might happen due to a weakened immune system. Usually, lymphocytes have a proper life cycle, but in this case, the abnormal lymphocytes grow and divide without perishing which leads to the accumulation of these abnormal cells causing tumorous growths. Also Read: Swollen Lymph Nodes Could Be A Sign Of Cancer


NHL further exists in the following forms:

Cutaneous lymphoma:

A type of lymphoma that can be classified as T-cell lymphoma or (less commonly) B-cell lymphoma and usually happens in the skin.

Follicular lymphoma:

This type of lymphoma has a characteristic growth pattern when viewed under the, microscope which can be follicular or nodular type.

Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia:

A rare type of NHL that usually has a slower growth rate.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma:

A common type of NHL that almost accounts to 30% of cases and can be extremely lethal if not treated on time.

Burkitt's Lymphoma:

This type of lymphoma has 2 subtypes, one related to the Epstein-Barr virus and the other related to spores.

MALT (Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue) Lymphoma:

Occurring in individuals in their 60’s, this type of cancer can be seen in the stomach.

Mantle Cell Lymphoma:

A rare form of NHL that accounts for up to 6% of cases and is quite arduous to treat.

Adult T-Cell Lymphoma/Leukaemia:

An aggressive form of NHL, the risk of which is closely related to the Human T-cell leukaemia/lymphotropic virus type (HTLV-1).

Lymphoblastic Lymphoma:

A rare form of lymphoma that accounts for about 2% of the NHL cases

Risk Factors

Certain factors that increase the risk of getting NHL include:

Age: Commonly diagnosed in people in their 60’s.

Medications: Immunosuppressive therapy after an organ transplant increases the risk of this infection.

Chemicals: Formulations used to kill insects and pests may lead to NHL.

Infections: Infections such as HIV and Epstein-Barr infection aggravate the risk of NHL.


The common signs and symptoms of NHL include:


Consult a doctor immediately if you detect any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms. The specialized doctor or urologist first does a thorough physical examination by analysing any swollen lymph nodes, including the neck, underarm and groin, as well as for a swollen spleen or liver. Other diagnostics include:

  • Blood and Urine Test
  • Lymph Node Test
  • Bone Marrow Test
  • Imaging techniques like X-ray, CT, MRI and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).


The treatment options usually depend upon the type and stage of cancer and include:

  • Surgery
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical Trials