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Non-Hodgkin's Lyphomas

The Diagnosis | The Treatment | Questions

Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system
There are two main types of lymphoma: non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and Hodgkin's disease
Lymphoma cells have the ability to spread beyond the original site. They usually spread first to other lymph nodes / glands in the lymphatic system, but can also enter the bloodstream which carries them to various organs
When the cells reach a new site they may go on dividing and form a new tumour

The lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is the body's natural defence against infection
It is made up of a collection of lymph nodes connected together by lymphatic vessels
Small lymph nodes are found mainly in the neck, under the armpits and in the groin. Other nodes are found in the chest and abdomen
A clear fluid called lymph is produced in the body's tissues and circulates throughout the body via the lymphatic system
It contains cells known as lymphocytes that act as a defence against infection. If, for example, you have a sore throat you may notice and the nodes in your neck become enlarged, this is a sign that your body is fighting against the infection

The Causes

Although the cause of most non-Hodgkin's lymphomas is unknown, research into this is going on all the time
Researchers are investigating whether certain conditions, such as the use of drugs which prevent rejection following an organ transplant, may make people more likely to develop lymphomas
Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, like other cancers, are not infectious and cannot be passed on to other people

The Symptoms

The first symptom of a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is usually a painless swelling in the neck, armpits or groin
Excessive sweating or fever, especially at night
Persistent itch all over the body
Loss of appetite, weight loss and tiredness
Children may develop a cough or breathlessness. Children may also complain of abdominal pain or you may notice a lump in your child's abdomen

If you or your child have any of the above symptoms you must have them checked by your doctor - but remember - they are common to many conditions other than non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and most people with these symptoms will not have a lymphoma.

Non-Hodgin's lymphomas In Hong Kong

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