Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma—Adult

Definition

Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system drains excess fluid from tissues. It also helps protect against infections.Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a name that applies to many types of lymphomas. These types are based on the cell that is involved and the patterns of growth.In general, these types can be classified as:
  • Slow growing lymphomas, also known as indolent lymphomas
  • Aggressive lymphomas
  • Highly aggressive lymphomas
These cancers are different from Hodgkin lymphoma .
The Lymphatic System
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Cancer occurs when cells in the body divide out of control or order. If cells keep dividing, a mass of tissue forms. These are called growths or tumors. If the tumor is cancer, it is called malignant. It can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

Causes

The cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown. DNA mutations that occur after birth may be related to this cancer. These mutations can occur as a result of exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals. They may also occur with age or for no apparent reason.

Risk Factors

Most people who develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma have no known risk factors. Men and people age 60 to 70 years old are at increased risk. The following factors may also increase your chance of developing this condition:
  • Frequent and accumulating exposure to certain types of chemicals, such as herbicides, pesticides, benzene, and chlorinated organic solvents
  • Infections involving the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and Epstein-Barr virus
  • History of chemotherapy , radiation therapy , or immunosupressive therapy
  • Chromosomal translocations, which occur when DNA breaks off one chromosome and becomes attached to another
  • A parent who has had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, especially if it occurred at an early age
  • Celiac disease —gluten enteropathy or gluten intolerance
  • Chronic infections, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's syndrome
  • Obesity

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