Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

By: Kade Tillis and Bella Hernandez

What Exactly Is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a disease where cancerous cells form in the lymph system. The lymph system is a part of the immune system and can spread to the liver and other organs, which means when NHL develops, it can affect many vital organs. NHL develops from lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.


  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in one’s neck, armpits, or groin

  • Abdominal pain or swelling

  • Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Weight loss


Doctors aren’t actually sure what causes NHL, but know it occurs when the body makes too many abnormal lymphocytes. Like most cells, lymphocytes go through a life cycle, and die. In NHL, this cycle is stopped, and the cells continue to live and reproduce, which ends up crowding your lymph nodes, which causes swelling. NHL can begin in both B-Cells(produce antibodies to fight infection) and T-Cells(kills invaders directly). You may be more at risk of developing NHL if you have an autoimmune disorder such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). NHL is not hereditary and those who are diagnosed with NHL should not worry about an increased risk to their children.


While there is no definitive way to prevent NHL completely, there are a few things that you can avoid to try to lower your risk of getting NHL. Preventing immune deficiency is the best way to reduce your risk of getting NHL. Immune deficiency includes HIV and HTLV-1. Some studies have shown that being overweight or obese can increase your risk of NHL, however more studies need to be done to confirm this.

Treatment Options-

Treatment for NHL includes:

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation Therapy

  • Stem Cell Transplant

  • Medications that enhance your immune system’s ability to fight cancer

  • Medications that deliver radiation directly to the cells

How is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosed?

NHL is diagnosed using a number of different tests and procedures. Your doctor will most likely start by giving you a physical to examine the size of your lymph nodes and check for spleen or liver enlargement. Blood or urine tests are performed to rule out other diseases. An X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, or an MRI could all be done to look for tumors in your body. Sometimes a biopsy may be recommended to reveal if you have NHL and what type. A sample or removal of a lymph node is done to perform the biopsy.

How many and what type of people are more likely to have this?

People with/who are the following are more likely to develop NHL

  • Those who take medicines to suppress their immune system

  • Infections with some viruses or bacteria

  • Chemicals

  • Older age

  • Gender (more DMAB have it than DFAB)

  • Radiation Exposure

  • Autoimmune Diseases

  • Breast Implants (rare)

There are about 19,000 new cases in the United States every year

Application of the Research Article-

We both learned a lot of useful information in doing research on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We furthered our knowledge on a different type of cancer and how it arises in your body. Researching NHL has helped us to gain a deeper understanding of what cancer is and how it can affect someone. Reading through the risk factors and prevention methods forced us to think about the very serious consequences of behaviors such as unprotected sex and the sharing of needles that could result in HIV and later Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Additionally, we read through symptoms that we could potentially develop in the future, allowing us to know exactly what to look for and what to expect when we visit our doctor. Overall conducting our research on NHL has been a very beneficial experience for both of us

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