PET/CT & Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a kind of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system, of which there are two main types: Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease) and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL).

The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system helping to fight infections. The lymphatic system is series of thin tubes, called lymphatic vessels. These tubes collect fluid (called nymph) from different parts of the body and then take the fluid back to the heart.

Lymph is a colorless, watery fluid that is rich in white blood cells, particularly lymphocytes. These lymphocytes play an important role in the immune system by protecting the body against infection and the growth of tumors.

At different places in the lymphatic system lymphocytes form lymph nodes and groups of lymph nodes are found throughout the body.

Lymphocytes fall into two categories: B-lymphocytes (B-cells) and T-lymphocytes (T-cells) and they have different functions in the immune system. B-cells make antibodies to fight against bacteria and T-cells protect the body from viruses.

  • Hodgkin's lymphoma

In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cells in the lymph nodes grow out of control and the body makes new cells that are not needed. This growth leads to the formation of a tumor will form from the mass of extra cells. In Hodgkin’s lymphoma tumors form in the lymphatic system, mostly in the lymph nodes (or glands), spleen, and sometimes in other organs. Hodgkin’s disease is unique because only a minority of the cells in an involved lymph node is malignant.

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL)

There is no single definitive description of the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas because the term encompasses a collection of diseases.

Most Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas arise within a lymph node, but a significant and increasing number arise in areas other than nodes, such as the jaw or brain, especially among children and those with AIDS.

Because lymph tissue is found in many parts of the body, lymphoma can start nearly anywhere. The lymph nodes become enlarged and the cancer can spread through the lymph system.

Hodgkin's disease and NHL are different diseases that both arise from the lymph node tissues in the body. Regardless of the type of cell, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is key to the long term well-being of the person diagnosed with lymphoma.

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