Lymphoma is a cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes or in organs that are related to the lymphatic system such as spleen, tonsils, thymus glands, and bone marrow. The function of the system is to provide immunity for the body against infectious diseases. Lymphocytes are a major component of this, as such if its function or the function of the lymphatic system become affected and abnormal it may lead to lymphoma. This may lead to enlargement of lymph nodes or other organs, and immune deficiencies making patients more susceptible to infection. Lymphoma can be found in other organs apart from lymph nodes such as liver, brain, and stomach.
Lymphoma can be divided into two main types established through pathology and use of colored dye. Identifying type of lymphoma is an important aspect of treatment planning.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – A cancer that occurs in the lymphatic system which can be classified as B-cell or T-cell, today it can be divided into 30 different types. The most common Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma found in Thailand is Diffuse large B cell lymphoma. It can be further defined as indolent lymphoma or aggressive lymphoma, both of which constitute different approaches to treatment.
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma is less common that Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is often found in the neck or chest area. Can be diagnosed by observing presence of Reed-Sternberg cells and is common in younger patients.