What Is the Prognosis for Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that is found in the lymph system. The lymph system is primarily responsible for fighting infections in the body. Clusters of lymph nodes or glands are found throughout the body as well, in the neck, armpit, upper thoracic region, and the groin. Lymphoma cancer is often classified as Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and treatment and prognosis for each will differ depending on case scenario.

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Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Also known as Hodgkin's Disease, this type of cancer affects the immune system. In the past, Hodgkin's lymphoma, the less common of the two (non-Hodgkin's being the other), used to be almost always fatal. Today the outlook is better. Prognosis for Hodgkin's lymphoma will be determined by the age and overall health of an individual, as well as how early the cancer has been detected.

Factors of Prognosis in Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Prognosis for Hodgkin's lymphoma is determined by how far the cancer has spread between lymph nodes. In Hodgkin's lymphoma, the cancer usually spreads by gradually advancing from one cluster of lymph nodes to the next. Because of this, if affected lymph nodes are removed, there is a good chance of preventing the spread of cancer to other clusters of lymph nodes.

Staging of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Prognosis

Hodgkin's lymphoma is classified in severity by stages. Making a prognosis will also be determined by what stage the lymphoma is in when diagnosed. Stage One defines the cancer in one lymph node or organ while Stage Two defines cancer found in two nodes, or in other organs limited to upper or lower torso development. Stage Three defines lymph cancer that has spread to lymph in both upper and lower torso locations though no organs are yet affected. Stage Four defines cancer as having spread beyond lymph nodes to other organs, including bone marrow. This stage is considered advanced and prognosis is poor.

Factors of Prognosis in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma generally affects the white blood cells, lymph nodes and the spleen. Early diagnosis increases a positive prognosis, but additional factors such as where the cancer has been found, how far it has been spread and the overall age and condition of the patient will determine prognosis. Prognosis will also be determined by whether treated lymph nodes shrink or reduce in size. Relapse is fairly common in Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cases, but again is dependent on subtypes of cancers found in the lymph nodes.

Additional Factors Associated with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Prognosis

In some cases, a person diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma will be successfully treated and enter into remission for one type of the cancer, commonly known as NHL, only to be later diagnosed with another type or form of the disease. However, early detection is one of the most common indicators in favorable prognosis of lymphoma type cancers.

Prognosis and Technology

Technology today enables physicians to spot cancer growths much earlier. CT and PET scans can spot cancerous growths in more cases than those utilizing just x-rays to determine a diagnosis. Patient education and awareness, as well as early diagnosis and treatment offers more positive prognosis for all types of lymphatic cancers.


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