Editor’s Note: This blog was originally written and posted for HealthUnlocked here.
This Christmas, we have partnered up with HealthUnlocked to participate in their 12 Days of Christmas campaign. This campaign features twelve different health and wellbeing conditions and their online communities.
Day 8: Non Hodgkin Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (also known as Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, NHL, or sometimes just Lymphoma) is a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), which are part of the lymphatic system. This system – composed of lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, groin, chest, and abdomen – removes excess fluids from your body and produces immune cells. Abnormal lymphocytes become lymphoma cells, which multiply and collect in your lymph nodes. Over time, these cancerous cells impair your immune system.
NHL is one of the most common cancers in the United States, accounting for about 4% of all cancers. The average American’s risk of developing NHL during his or her lifetime is about 1 in 50 – that’s about 72,580 this year alone.
Key Facts on NHL
- Lymphomas are divided into two categories: Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas. About 88% if people with lymphoma have Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- There are two main types: B-Cell Lymphoma or T-Cell Lymphoma – but there are about 60 subtypes
- Overall survival at five years is more than 60%, according to the National Cancer Institute
- NHL most often starts in the lymph nodes in the upper part of the body – in the neck or chest or under the arms
- It can spread through the lymph system to other lymph nodes and outside the lymph nodes to the bone marrow, lungs, or liver
- There is no known cause of NHL, but there are several factors that may increase risk, such as a weakened immune system from an inherited disease, autoimmune disease, HIV, or drugs given because of an organ transplant, and certain viruses or chemicals
- NHL occurs more often in patients between the ages of 40 and 70
Symptoms of NHL
- Swollen lymph nodes and/or abdomen
- Chest pain or pressure
- Shortness of breath or cough
- Fever or night sweats
- Weight loss or fatigue
- Low red blood cell counts
Join an online Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma community within HealthUnlocked today. Get support, help, and information from people who also have the condition.