Lymphoma A Cancer in the Lymph Glands

By Dr. Balkrishna Padate in Centre for Haematology & Bone Marrow Transplant , Lymphoma Cancer Program

Apr 24 , 2023 | 1 min read

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph glands or lymphatic system. Cancer affects the immunity cells called lymphocytes, which are also known as the white blood cells.

What are The Types of Lymphoma?

Lymphomas are broadly classified into two types:

Hodgkin's Lymphoma:

This type of Lymphoma is commonly seen in the young population and has excellent treatments which can cure the majority of patients.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas:

All Lymphomas except Hodgkin's Lymphoma are called Non-Hodgkins Lymphomas and are more common than Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A wide variety of Lymphomas are in this class, and the causes, the types of cells involved, and the prognosis vary by type. The incidence of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma increases with age.

What Causes Lymphoma?

The exact cause of Lymphoma in an individual case of Lymphoma is not possible to point out but things like exposure to chemicals and radiation, viral infections like HIV, and autoimmune diseases are known to increase the incidence of Lymphoma.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma?

Patients with Lymphoma generally have weight loss, fever, enlargement of the lymph glands, night sweats, fatigue/tiredness, etc.

How is Lymphoma diagnosed?

After a physical examination, a full body scan including a PET scan and blood tests is done to identify the enlarged nodes. One of the nodes is biopsied for histology for the diagnosis of Lymphoma. Some patients will also need a bone marrow biopsy for diagnosis and to check the extent of the spread of Lymphoma.

How are Lymphomas Treated?

Several modalities of treatments are used for Lymphoma.


Chemotherapy is the administration of drugs that kill rapidly dividing cells such as cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken orally in tablet form, or it may be delivered via a catheter or an intravenous line directly into the bloodstream. Combination chemotherapy is usually given. Some side effects from chemotherapy drugs include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, loss of appetite, tiredness, and an increased chance of infection due to the destruction of white blood cells. There are medications available to help manage the side effects of chemotherapy. Infertility can be one of the side effects of chemotherapy.

Radiation Therapy

Radiotherapy, or radiation therapy, involves directing a carefully focused beam of high-energy X-rays onto the affected lymphomas, thereby destroying the cancerous cells.

Stem Cell Transplant

For people who relapse (the disease comes back even after treatment), this risky procedure of high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation is an alternative approach with the intention to get rid of the disease.

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