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For most patients, the cause of Lymphoma is unknown. However, lymphomas may develop in people with weakened immune systems. For example, after an organ transplant. There are two main forms of the disease - Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is grouped, or staged, according to how fast the cancer spreads. The cancer may be low grade, intermediate grade or high grade. Burkitt's tumor is an example of a high-grade lymphoma. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Hodgkin's lymphoma is a malignancy (cancer) of lymph tissue found in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and bone marrow. This is commonly referred to as Hodgkin's disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, a person has a 1 in 50 chance of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Most of the time, this cancer affects adults. However, children can get some forms of CLL. High-risk groups include those who have received an organ transplant or who have a weakened immune system (immunosuppression). The cancer is more common in men than women.

Risk factors

Incidents of lymphoma are increasing annually. While the principle cause for this is unknown, there are several risk factors that may increase susceptibility for developing the disease. These include:

  • Persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have a much higher risk of developing lymphoma.
  • Persons in farming communities may be at higher risk because ofdue to exposure to herbicides and pesticides.
  • The Epstein-Barr virus has been associated with lymphoma

For more information on lymphoma prevention, contact the Norton Cancer Institute Prevention & Early Detection Program at 1-800-555-6772 or (502) 629-5500 or email cancer@nortonhealthcare.org. A health care professional will research and respond to your question within 48-hours.  Exceptions may include weekends and holidays.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Recurrent high fever
  • Sweating at night
  • Troublesome itching
  • Weight loss

Among the most common symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are:

  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Indigestion and abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bone pain

Detection

If your physician suspects lymphoma, he or she may do a series of tests including:

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy
  • Imaging Studies such as x-rays, CT or MRI scans
  • Bone marrow examination

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