Types of Lymphoma

Extreme fatigue, weight loss, fever, and sweats: Lymphoma can make you feel ill and tired every day. Both types of lymphoma affect your lymph system. Non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's lymphomas create similar symptoms.

At UVA, you'll find expert diagnostics and the latest treatments for both types of lymphoma. This includes care for Waldenstrom lymphoma.

What is Lymphoma?

You have lymph nodes and tissue throughout your body. They drain extra fluid from your blood. White blood cells called lymphocytes live in the lymph nodes. These white blood cells attack bacteria and viruses. Part of your immune system, the lymph system protects you from infection.

Lymphomas start in the white blood cells in lymph tissue. You can get lymphoma in any place you have lymph tissue, which includes your:

  • Lymph nodes and vessels
  • Bone marrow
  • Adenoids
  • Digestive system
  • Thymus gland
  • Spleen

Types of Lymphoma: Hodgkin's vs. Non-Hodgkin's

While they share the same kind of symptoms, differences exist between these two lymphomas.

Common vs. Rare

Hodgkin's is more rare than non-Hodgkin's.

Patient Age

Generally, these types of lymphoma differ on who they impact:

  • Hodgkin's shows up most often in people aged 15-24
  • Non-Hodgkin's shows up most often in people over 60

Reed-Sternberg Cells

Part of the diagnosis process includes looking at parts of your blood and lymph to see if you have cells called Reed-Sternberg cells.

  • No Reed-Sternberg cells mean you have non-Hodgkin's.
  • If you do have Reed-Sternberg cells in your lymph, you have Hodgkin's.

Easy vs. Hard to Treat

Hodgkin's lymphoma usually starts in lymph nodes in the chest, neck, or under the arms. The cancer then moves from one lymph node to another. This makes it easy to find, trace, and treat. We consider Hodgkin's lymphoma one of the more curable forms of cancer.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma will spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, brain, or bone marrow. This lymphoma tends to spread before diagnosis. This can hurt our ability to treat it.

    Lymphoma Treatment Options

    Treatment options include:

    • Chemotherapy 
    • Radiation
    • Spleen removal
    • Biologics

    Learn more about lymphoma treatments.