Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer. It is like another well-known cancer, called leukemia. Both affect your body’s white blood cells. But leukemia usually forms in bone marrow, while lymphoma attacks the lymphatic system.

It’s hard to feel optimistic when you find out you have cancer. But you may find comfort in knowing lymphoma is more treatable than ever before. Survival rates for most types of lymphoma are 80 percent or higher when diagnosed early. And at Mercy, we’ll do everything we can to help you meet or beat those odds.

Types of Lymphoma

Your body produces a special fluid called “lymph.” Lymph contains white blood cells that protect your body from viruses and other invaders.

The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues. It includes your lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland and bone marrow. Just as your circulatory system carries blood throughout your body, the lymphatic system transports lymph fluid.

Sometimes a type of white blood cell (called a lymphocyte) can develop a mutation. Lymphoma occurs when these abnormal cells multiply, then spread through your body via the lymphatic system.

There are several kinds of lymphoma. Each is distinguished by the kind of white blood cells it affects, and where in the body it spreads. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphom and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Symptoms of lymphoma vary, but may include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes. These can occur anywhere in the body but often develop in the neck, armpit or groin.
  • Persistent fever or chills
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath

Lymphoma Treatment Options at Mercy

Mercy understands the challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis. Even though medical advances have improved lymphoma’s cure rate, the disease still takes a toll on your physical and mental health. 

Our team provides more than just medical expertise. We also offer compassionate care, support and encouragement.

Your treatment strategy will depend on several factors. These include the type of lymphoma you have, and whether it is slow-growing or aggressive. Your doctor may recommend you have one or more types of treatment, including:

  • Medication, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

If your Mercy oncologist feels a stem cell transplant (otherwise known as a bone marrow transplant) is the best option for you, he or she will refer you to an appropriate transplant center.

It’s natural to worry when you have cancer. But it’s also okay to trust that things will get easier. Even if your road to recovery is long, you can rest assured Mercy will be with you every step of the way. We’ll provide the medical care and emotional support you need to get through this—and get on with your life. 

What is Lymphoma?

Dr. Heide Rodgers

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