About Lymphoma

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a term used for various types of cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, a network of vein-like systems that run alongside the veins and arteries in our body. The lymphatic system carries a clear fluid called lymph to and from the tissues of our body. The lymphatic system filters out bacteria and fights infection and disease. These filters are called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes can be painful and can become bigger when fighting infection; these lymph nodes can be found under the arm, the groin and the tonsils and other areas in our bodies.

There are two major types of lymphoma
  1. Hodgkin's Lymphoma

    This is a malignant (cancerous) growth that starts in one area of the lymphatic system, usually a lymph node. It has characteristics that distinguish it from all other cancers of the lymphatic system. It generally spreads from one group of lymph nodes to the next in an orderly way.

    The diagnosis is made when particular cells called the Hodgkin's cells are found in the lymphoma tissues.

    With treatment, persons with Hodgkin's lymphoma have a better chance of recovery.

  2. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

    This is a malignant (cancerous) growth of the B or T cells in the lymphatic system. It is generally spread through the lymphatic system in a less orderly way.

    There are many types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The various type of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are determined by the cancerous cells found in the lymph nodes, and how the disease presents itself.


What Causes Lymphoma

  • There is no single cause, however there are some risk factors.
  • Serious infections like HIV, that suppress the immune system.
  • Viral infections, autoimmune diseases where the body produces antibodies against itself,
  • Certain pesticides and chemicals. People develop lymphoma with no known risk.


How is Lymphoma Diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects Hodgkin's or Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma after a medical examination, a number of tests will be done to confirm a diagnosis, such as blood tests, biopsy of the lymph nodes, bone marrow aspirate, X-Rays, Ultrasounds, C.T. scans and MRIs.



This will depend on the type of lymphoma that is present, as each type is treated differently.

Your doctor will decide the best treatment for your lymphoma. It may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, biological therapy, bone marrow transplant / peripheral stem cells transplant.

With some types of low grade lymphoma, your dcotor may take a "wait and see" approach, carefully monitoring your disease by regular follow up examinations.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit and groin area. Internal organs can also become enlarged.
  • Recurrent high fevers.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weight loss, no appetite.
  • Rash or lumps on the skin.
  • Bone pain, chest pain and cough.
  • Night sweating


Risk Factors

  • Race: More common in those of European descent.
  • Gender: More frequent in males.
  • Age: Risk factors for Non-HodgkinÕs lymphoma increase with age, whereas HodgkinÕs lymphoma is more common in adolescents and young adults.


Medical Disclaimer

The information given on this website is for educational purposes only. We do not diagnose or treat anyone. This information is intended for general reference and as such, can be taken out of context without professional medical guidance.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have any of the conditions mentioned, always ask your doctor before acting on any information you see here.

Some of the material used was taken from various international organisations and put together for the Barbadian public.

For further information about these diseases, we link to some international cancer-related services, including; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and The U.S. National Cancer Institute