Radiation Therapy for Lymphoma
Facts About Lymphoma
The lymphatic system is a network of tiny vessels extending throughout the body. They are often next to the veins and arteries but are even smaller than them. Scattered along these vessels are lymph nodes. The lymphatic vessels carry a clear fluid called lymph from the extremities and organs back to the blood circulation. The job of the lymphatic system is to fight infection and disease. Cancer of the lymphatic system is called lymphoma. The two main types are Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.
- Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Hodgkin's lymphoma (or Hodgkin's disease) most often begins in the larger, more central lymph nodes of the body – those along the largest blood vessels of the neck, central chest, abdomen along the spine, and armpit and groin areas where the vessels return from the arms and legs. It is named for the British doctor Thomas Hodgkin, who first described the disease in 1832. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 8,000 people will be diagnosed with Hodgkin's in the United States each year. Hodgkin's is very treatable and often curable. More than 75 percent of patients with Hodgkin's live longer than 10 years after diagnosis. Hodgkin's is usually treated with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy, either alone or together.
- Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL)
NHL is a cancerous growth of cells that make up the lymph nodes. NHL is eight times more common than Hodgkin's lymphoma. The American Cancer Society expects that 63,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease annually. Since the 1970s, the number of people with NHL has increased significantly. Researchers are studying to see whether a gene makes people more likely to develop NHL. There are about 30 types of NHL, and the best treatment depends on the exact type. All types of NHL are treatable, and many are curable. NHL is usually treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy and/or a stem cell transplant. Depending on your cancer and overall health, you might receive only one of these treatments or several in combination.