An Overview of Lymphoma Types

A lymphoma is a form of blood cancer, that affects the lymphocytes in the lymphatic system. Lymphocytes travel throughout the body using the lymphatic system and fight off external invasions by viruses and bacteria. A change or mutation in the cell structure of lymphocytes causes lymphoma. The mutation causes healthy cells to develop and multiply rapidly and can affect one’s bone marrow, thymus, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes. Non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are the two primary classifications, as follows:

1. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
It is one of the more common types of lymphoma. The subtypes can be further classified into different forms of lymphoma depending on the growth rate of the blood cancer. There are two primary classifications of the subtypes based on whether they are fast growing (aggressive lymphomas) or slow-growing (indolent lymphomas). Primary types of lymphoma include the following:

  • B-cell lymphomas
    85% of the cases are identified as B-cell lymphoma in the country. Medical professionals also refer to it as Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and it is one of the most aggressive forms of blood cancer in the Non-Hodgkin’s subtype. Abnormal B-cells in the blood can lead to Diffuse Large B-cell lymphoma and if left unchecked cancer can prove fatal.
  • T-cell lymphomas
    T-cell lymphoma accounts for 15% of the cases identified in the country. One of its common types, Precursor T-cell lymphoma, affects the bone marrow and can result in a chemical imbalance that affects the production of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets similar to that of leukemia.
    Further, there are over 90 subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma classified into B-cell and T-cell categories accordingly. Some of the common ones in B-cell types include follicular, chronic lymphocytic, mantle cell, marginal zone, B-cell, splenic marginal zone B-cell, and Burkitt Lymphoma. The common T-cell types include adult T-cell, extranodal natural killer, enteropathy associated intestinal T-cell, anaplastic large cell, and peripheral T-cell lymphoma.  

2. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL)
Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer originates primarily from lymphocytes that are a specific type of white blood cell. Cancer can affect people between the ages of 20 and 40, with a high risk of suffering from one of the following types after the age of 55:

  • Lymphocyte-Depleted Hodgkin’s disease
    An aggressive form of blood cancer that affects 1% of the identified cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The risk of cancer in high in people who are already suffering from conditions that weaken the immune system, including HIV AIDS. Individuals in their 30s can develop this form of lymphoma.
  • Lymphocyte-Rich Hodgkin’s disease
    The subtype is more common in men and accounts for only 5% of the total identified cases of lymphoma. Diagnosis is possible in its early stages due to the presence of both lymphocytes and Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells in the system.
  • Mixed Cellularity Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    The blood cancer subtype is common among men and more prevalent in older men due to the presence of lymphocytes and RS cells giving the lymphoma a mixed cellularity factor.
  • Nodular Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s disease
    The blood cancer subtype affects people between the ages of 30 and 50. It does not necessarily transform into an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The condition is prevalent in men and accounts for 5% of the cases identified and characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells.
  • Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    It is one of the most common types of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and affects young adults mostly. The subtype of cancer is easy to treat.