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3D illustration of Burkitt's lymphoma cells, a cancer of the lymphatic system

Lymphoma is a group of blood and bone marrow cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, an important component of the body’s infection-fighting network. The lymphatic system includes the thymus, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes throughout the body.

More specifically, lymphoma originates in a type of white blood cell known as a lymphocyte. There are several types, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as various subtypes of each. Lymphoma is categorized based on the types of cancer cells present, such as Reed-Sternberg cells, which can be identified when a tissue sample is viewed under a microscope. Certain forms of lymphoma, such as early-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma, usually respond well to treatment and therefore have a high cure rate.

Predictive factors

In general, lymphoma is considered to be very treatable. However, each patient’s outlook can vary based on several factors, most notably the type and severity of the diagnosis and how early the cancer was detected. Other factors that can influence the prognosis and survival rate for lymphoma include:

  • The patient’s age, overall health and treatment decisions
  • Whether or not the cancer has spread to organs or tissues outside the lymphatic system
  • The patient’s performance status (PS), which measures how well he or she is able to perform normal daily activities
  • The blood level of a specific enzyme known as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), which serves as a marker for tissue breakdown and typically increases along with the amount of lymphoma in the body

To achieve the best possible outcome and quality of life after a lymphoma diagnosis, it is important to work with an experienced specialist at a high-volume cancer center, such as Moffitt Cancer Center. At Moffitt, we deliver nationally-ranked lymphoma care in new and transformative ways. As our patient, you are always our top priority, and we will support you with compassionate care every step of the way.

If you would like to connect with a specialist in the Malignant Hematology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, you can request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our new patient registration form online. We will provide a rapid response to help you plan the right treatment.