Non-Hodgkin lymphoma accounts for approximately 90% of all lymphoma diagnoses and is the most common type of blood cancer in Australia.
There are many different sub types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma which are divided into ‘B-cell’ or ‘T-cell’ lymphomas. Both sup-types are cancers of the lymphatic system after the B or T lymphocytes (type of white blood cell) undergo a malignant change and multiple uncontrollably. These abnormal cells eventually form as tumours, most commonly in the lymph nodes of the body.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare cancer accounting for approximately 0.5% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. While non-Hodgkin lymphoma can affect either the B or T cells, Hodgkin lymphoma is marked by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Reed-Sternberg cells are malignant, mature B cells, and are unusually large.
Hodgkin lymphoma tends to progress quite predictably through lymph nodes and is commonly diagnosed in early stages.
A biopsy is the only way for doctors to confirm a Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.