Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a disease in which malignant cells form in the lymph system. The lymph system is part of the immune system and is made up of the following:
- Lymph, a colorless, watery fluid that travels through the lymph system and carries white blood cells called lymphocytes.
- Lymph vessels, a network of thin tubes that collect lymph from different parts of the body and return it to the bloodstream.
- Lymph nodes, small, bean-shaped structures that filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight infection and disease. Lymph nodes are located along the lymph vessels.
- The spleen, an organ that makes lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells.
- The thymus, an organ in which lymphocytes grow and multiply.
- The tonsils, two small masses of lymph tissue at the back of the throat.
- Bone marrow, the soft, spongy tissue in the center of large bones.
Because lymph tissue is found throughout the body, adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma can begin in almost any part of the body. Age, gender, and a weakened immune system can affect the risk of adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program
estimates 72,240 people in the United States will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and more than 20,000 will die of the disease in 2017.
Source: National Cancer Institute