The term Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) includes a collection of diseases. It is the sixth most common cancer and cause of cancer death.

Lymphomas are cancers of white blood cells which are part of the immune system. The immune system is supposed to protect from illness and disease. The cancerous cells divide continuously before they are fully mature. This makes them unable to fight infection. They crowd out the normal white blood cells weakening the entire lymphatic system.

  • Young males are diagnosed more frequently with NHL than females.
  • Whites are diagnosed 50% more often than Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics combined.
  • People over 65 develop NHL more often than those under.
  • Those with suppressed immune systems are more likely to develop it.

Grade

Grading describes how aggressive the tumor is. NHL tumors are graded based on their appearance under a microscope.

  • indolent (low-grade)
  • intermediate-grade
  • high-grade

Stage

Staging describes how far the disease has spread from its point of origin. It is based on how much of the body is affected by the NHL.

  • Stage 1...A single lymph node or node region is affected.
  • Stage 2...Two or more lymph nodes or regions on the same side of the diaphragm.
  • Stage 3...Lymph node regions on both sides of the diaphragm are affected.
  • Stage 4...NHL is widely spread affecting one or more extralymphatic sites(like bone marrow, spleen, lungor liver)

If you or someone you know has developed this disease, I highly recommend Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas: Making Sense of Diagnosis, Treatment, & Options by Lorraine Johnston. It's the most comprehensive book on NHL that I have found.

You may also find information on the following websites.

http://24.139.0.13/~aperreau/index.html
http://www.patientcenters.com/lymphoma/

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