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Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
If non-Hodgkin lymphoma is determined to be of a low risk type, the five-year survival rate is 91 percent. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma will claim about 20,000 lives this year.
*Source: The American Cancer Society

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Overview

WellStar Health System provides superior care for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, offering a comprehensive spectrum of top-notch physicians, treatment options and diagnostic tools. In addition WellStar offers such innovative advances in the fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including:

  • Advanced lymphatic system oncologists with special interest in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and who practice state-of-the-art care in a collegial atmosphere.
  • The entire spectrum of diagnostic and interventional treatments – including ultrasounds, CT and PET scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), a treatment that allows for the radiation to be tailored to the size and placement of the tumor, while sparing healthy tissue.
  • A Tumor Board, which is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team, for review of complex cases
  • Clinical trials - making novel therapies available to patients.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, a key component of the immune system. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes, or glands, which are located in various places throughout the body. Lymph nodes are in your neck, near your armpits and in your abdomen and groin. They are connected by small vessels called lymphatics. The lymphatic system also includes the thymus gland, spleen and bone marrow. Together, the different parts of the lymphatic system help the body fight disease.

There are two types of cancers that originate in the lymphatic system – Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is the rarer of the two. While both are cancers of the lymphatic system, they differ in their pattern of spread through the body and in the aggressiveness of growth. Because of the differences, the symptoms and treatment can be different.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma typically begins when types of white blood cells called B cells or T cells multiply rapidly. They continue to grow abnormally, but they do not fight infection, as healthy white blood cells do. Instead, they build up and form a growth, or tumor.


Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, or groin. These may not necessarily be painful.
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Prolonged fever
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Pain, swelling or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
  • Coughing, trouble breathing, or chest pain
  • Persistent fatigue

Risk Factors

  • Certain viral infections, such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or HIV.
  • A weakened immune system, such as through certain genetic disorders, prolonged infection or through an organ transplant.
  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria. These bacteria can cause stomach ulcers and can increase a person’s risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the stomach lining.
  • Infection with Human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1
  • Infection with Hepatitis C virus may increase a person’s risk.
  • Certain medications causing immunosuppression used to treat other conditions