What is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?
Dr. Nichols: My name is Dr. Gwen Nichols. And I am the chief medical officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
So, lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphoid cells. These are a type of blood cells that are in your blood and bone marrow. But they're also in your lymph nodes. And then, the lymphatic system is a circulatory system that is separate from the blood circulatory system but in connection with it. And when these cells start proliferating, when they start growing, they become a clone or a single type of cell. And that is what is lymphoma.
People think of, when they get a response to an infection, when you get swollen glands, those are your lymph nodes. Those are the lymphatic system doing what they're supposed to do, which is fight infections. But when, instead of responding to every kind of infection that you get exposed to, it only makes one kind of cell that's a cancerous proliferation.
What makes treating lymphoma different from other cancers is when you think about cancers, most people think about what stage am I. And while there is staging in lymphoma, many patients have lymphoma in multiple areas. So, it's unusual to find very limited lymphoma because these are circulating cells by their nature. And so, they can be in multiple areas. So, this make it a little bit different than other types of solid tumors.