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Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a general term for a group of cancers that originate in the lymph system. The two main kinds of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma, which spreads in an orderly manner from one group of lymph nodes to another; and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which spreads through the lymphatic system in a non-orderly manner. Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in children, teens, and adults.

What Causes Lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma becomes more common as people get older. Unlike most cancers, rates of Hodgkin lymphoma are highest among teens and young adults (ages 15 to 39 years) and again among older adults (ages 75 years or older). White people are more likely than black people to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and men are more likely than women to develop lymphoma.

Scientists do not fully understand all of the causes of lymphoma, but research has found many links. For example—

  • Research has shown that people who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at much higher risk of developing lymphoma.
  • Other viruses, such as human T-cell lymphotrophic virus and Epstein Barr virus, also have been linked with certain kinds of lymphoma.
  • People exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation have a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Family history has been linked with a higher risk of Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Some studies suggest that specific ingredients in herbicides and pesticides may be linked with lymphoma, but scientists don’t know how much is needed to raise the risk of developing lymphoma.

Symptoms of Lymphoma

Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes, especially in the part of the body where the lymphoma starts to grow. Other symptoms include fever, night sweats, feeling tired, and weight loss.

These symptoms can also come from other conditions. If you have any of them, talk to your doctor.

Statistics

In the United States in 2014 (the most recent year for which numbers are available)—

  • 75,350 people (41,508 men and 33,842 women) were diagnosed with lymphoma, and 21,464 people (11,918 men and 9,546 women) died from it.
  • 8,581 people (4,780 men and 3,801 women) were diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, and 1,077 people (633 men and 444 women) died from it.
  • 66,769 people (36,728 men and 30,041 women) were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and 20,387 people (11,285 men and 9,102 women) died from it.

Among men—

  • White men had the highest rate of getting lymphoma (26.0 per 100,000 men), followed by Hispanic men (21.7), black men (19.7), Asian/Pacific Islander men (16.7), and American Indian/Alaska Native men (11.9).
  • White men had the highest rate of getting Hodgkin lymphoma (3.1), followed by black men (3.0), Hispanic men (2.7), Asian/Pacific Islander men (1.5), and American Indian/Alaska Native men (1.3).
  • White men had the highest rate of getting non-Hodgkin lymphoma (23.0), followed by Hispanic men (19.0), black men (16.7), Asian/Pacific Islander men (15.2), and American Indian/Alaska Native men (10.6).

Among women—

  • White women had the highest rate of getting lymphoma (18.1 per 100,000 women), followed by Hispanic women (17.4), black women (14.1), Asian/Pacific Islander women (11.8), and American Indian/Alaska Native women (10.0).
  • White women had the highest rate of getting Hodgkin lymphoma (2.4), followed by Hispanic women (2.3), black women (2.2), and Asian/Pacific Islander women (1.0), Rates for American Indian/Alaska Native women could not be presented.
  • White women had the highest rate of getting non-Hodgkin lymphoma (15.7), followed by Hispanic women (15.1), black women (11.8), Asian/Pacific Islander women (10.8), and American Indian/Alaska Native women (9.3).

Hispanic origin is not mutually exclusive from race categories (white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native).

Data source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2014 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2017. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.

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