Brenda Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lymphoma is an immune system cancer that begins in cells that are called lymphocytes.The lymphatic system is made up of the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland and bone morrow. The two primary types of lymphoma are known as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These malignancies are subdivided into several forms of lymphoma.
The ACS says two of the most frequently diagnosed forms of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) are diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. The diffuse large-B cell variety is a fast-growing cancer that makes up approximately one-third of lymphoma cases.
Approximately 20 percent non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases in the U.S. are referred to as follicular lymphoma. This slower-growing cancer is known for its rounded outline around the lymph nodes.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says non-Hodgkin lymphoma can also form from T-cells. These include mycosis fungoides and precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma most often develops in the lymph nodes located in the neck area but sometimes arises under the arms or in the abdominal region. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) says classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL) is linked to the Epstein-Barr virus that causes infectious mononucleosis. Up to 25 percent of Hodgkin lymphoma cases are of this type.
The ASCO says there are five subtypes of classical Hodgkin lymphoma. The most widespread type of CHL is called nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma. In addition to the presence of Reed-Sternberg (malignant) cells, there are groups of adjoining tissue in the lymph node. Young people, particularly women, are more often diagnosed with this form of CHL.
Lymphocycte Rich Classic
A far less common type of CHL (approximately 6 percent of cases) is called lymphocyte rich classic Hodgkin lymphoma. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with this variety of lymphoma that generally develops in areas that exclude the chest (mediastinum).
Mixed Cellularity and Lymphocyte Depleted
Mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma generally attacks the abdominal area and usually affects older adults. It contains numerous cell types, including masses of Reed-Sternberg cells.
The most rare form of CHL is lymphocyte depleted Hodgkin lymphoma, consisting of about 1 percent of all cases. This type is also most prevalent among older people and those with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). The lymph node almost exclusively contains Reed-Sternberg cells.
In general, the survival rate for Hodgkin lymphoma is higher than non-Hodgkin. There are, however, a total of 35 forms of lymphoma, and the prognosis can vary in individual cases depending on the specific diagnosis and the type of treatment that is administered.