Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (also called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, NHL, or at times, simply lymphoma) is a cancer that begins in white blood cells (lymphocytes), which are a part of the body’s immune system.
Khan Eyelid and Facial Aesthetics, led by board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Tanya Khan, provides safe and proven eye care procedures to patients in Austin, Dallas, Texas, and surrounding locations.
Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)
NHL treatment depends on which type it is. Therefore, it is crucial for doctors to understand the exact type of lymphoma that the patient has. The type of lymphoma will depend on the type of lymphocyte that is affected (B cells or T cells), the maturity of the cells when they become malignant, and other factors.
B-Cell vs. T-Cell Lymphomas
The lymph system comprises lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells that help the body combat infections. There are two primary types of lymphocytes:
B lymphocytes (B cells)
The normal function of B cells is to protect the body against bacteria or viruses by making proteins known as antibodies. The antibodies attach to the germs and mark them for destruction by other parts of the immune system.
T lymphocytes (T cells)
There are various types of T cells. Certain T cells destruct germs or abnormal cells in the body. Other T cells enhance or slow the activity of other immune system cells.
Lymphoma can initiate in either type of lymphocytes. However, B-cell lymphomas occur most commonly.
Indolent vs. Aggressive Lymphomas
The forms of NHL can also be classified on the basis of how fast they grow and spread:
Indolent lymphomas grow and spread gradually. Certain indolent lymphomas might not need to be treated immediately. However, they can be closely observed instead. The most commonly occurring type of indolent lymphoma in the US is follicular lymphoma.
Aggressive lymphomas grow and spread rapidly, and typically need to be treated immediately. The most commonly occurring type of aggressive lymphoma in the US is diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
Certain types of lymphoma, such as mantle cell lymphoma, do not fit completely into either of these categories.
Irrespective of how fast they grow, all non-Hodgkin lymphomas can spread to other areas of the lymph system if not treated. They can eventually also spread to other areas of the body, such as the brain, liver, or bone marrow.
Common Treatment Approaches
The treatment approaches for NHL will depend on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, the patient’s health, and other factors.
Palliative or supportive care is another vital part of treatment for many people. This can help avoid or treat issues such as low blood cell counts, infections, or some symptoms caused by lymphoma.
Can Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Be Found Early?
In people who do not show symptoms, screening tests, or exams are used. Careful, routine medical check-ups are crucial for individuals with known risk factors for NHL (such as organ transplants, HIV infections, autoimmune disease, or prior cancer treatment).
These people do not usually get lymphoma. However, they should still be aware of potential symptoms and signs of lymphoma. Oculoplastic & reconstructive surgeon Dr. Tanya Khan receives patients from Austin, Dallas, Texas, and nearby areas for advanced eye care procedures.
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