Lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s

Any cancer of lymphoid tissue (found mainly in the lymph nodes and spleen) other than Hodgkin’s disease. In most cases there is no known cause. Occasionally, the disease is associated with suppression of the immune system, particularly after an organ transplant. One type of nonHodgkin’s lymphoma, known as Burkitt’s lymphoma, is thought to be caused by the Epstein–Barr virus. There is usually painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck or groin. The liver and spleen may enlarge, and lymphoid tissue in the abdomen may be affected. Many other organs may become involved, leading to diverse symptoms ranging from headache to skin ulceration. Unless it is controlled, the disease (often marked by fever) progressively impairs the immune system, leading to death from infections or an uncontrolled spread of cancer. Diagnosis is based on a biopsy, usually taken from a lymph node. Chest X-ray, CT scanning, MRI, bone marrow biopsy, and lymphangiography of the abdomen may be needed to assess the extent of the disease. If the lymphoma is confined to a single group of lymph nodes, treatment consists of radiotherapy. More often, the disease is more extensive, and in such cases anticancer drugs are given. A bone marrow transplant, together with drug treatment and/or radiotherapy, may be performed on some people.


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