Lymphoma is a cancer of the body's immune system, also known as the lymphatic system. Lymphomas are classified into two types: Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in the United States, making up roughly 4 percent of all cancers. Occurring at any age, it can affect children and young adults as well as the older adult population. The chances of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma increase with age, and half of all patients diagnosed are over the age of 65.
Two Types of Lymphoma: What's the Difference?
Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight infection) become out of control and divide in an abnormal way or don't die when they should. Healthy lymphocytes travel around your body through the lymphatic system and are found in clusters of lymph nodes. These glands in your neck, chin, groin and armpits are where cells can abnormally replicate.
Under a microscope, if a specific cell called Reed-Sternberg is detected, the diagnosis is Hodgkin's lymphoma, says Mayo Clinic. If these cells are not detected, it is considered non-Hodgkin's.