Lymphoma is a general term for cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, the part of your immune system that helps fight disease and infection. Hodgkin's lymphoma is a rare type of lymphoma, accounting for less than 1 percent of all cases of cancer in this country. Other more common lymphatic cancers are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
In Hodgkin's lymphoma, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread beyond the lymphatic system. As the condition progresses, it compromises your body's ability to fight infection and symptoms appear. Many symptoms may be similar to those of flu, such as fever, fatigue and night sweats. Eventually, tumors develop. Hodgkin's lymphoma usually affects people between the ages of 15 to 35 and those older than 55.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma accounts for about 4 percent of all new cancers in the United States. The disease is about eight times more common than Hodgkin's lymphoma. About 55,000 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, tumors develop from white blood cells called lymphocytes, often at different locations in your body. Normally, lymphocytes go through a predictable life cycle. Old lymphocytes die and your body creates new ones to replace them. But in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, your body produces abnormal lymphocytes that continue to divide and grow without control. This excess of lymphocytes crowds into your lymph nodes, causing them to swell.