Lymphoma - Definition

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Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which supports the immune system. Uncontrolled proliferation of lymphoid cells is the cause, originating from the lymph nodes or from another lymphoid organ such as the spleen or liver, for example. Two major types of lymphomas are distinguished: non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas can develop from B lymphocytes, which is the case in 85% of cases, or from T cells in 15% of cases. Many subcategories exist, and the common features include their effect on adults usually after 50 years of age, and the appearance of symptoms such as significant weight loss with lymphadenopathy, swollen lymph nodes, and an increase in the size of the spleen and liver. A biopsy of a lymph node and an analysis of the sample is needed to diagnose and characterize the type of lymphoma which will guide management. Lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease is less frequent, often appearing before lymph node swelling and a biopsy of the lymph nodes enables the diagnosis. Note that lymphoma can also develop from non-lymphoid organs such as gastric lymphoma, affecting the stomach, or cutaneous lymphoma.