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Lymphoma care

Compassionate, expert care in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma

Allina Health offers compassionate, comprehensive, whole person care in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma. We have an entire team of health care providers who will work closely with you through every step of your lymphoma care.  

Lymphoma is a general term for cancers that develop in the lymphatic system (the tissues and organs that produce, store and carry white blood cells). The lymph system helps defend the body from infection and other diseases. 

Lymph nodes are located throughout your body. They act as a filter, collecting dead cells and germs to protect your body. Lymphoma can occur almost anywhere because the lymph system is a network that runs from head to toe. 

There are two main types of lymphoma: 

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer of the white blood cells (lymphocytes). These cells live in the bone marrow. White blood cells make antibodies to fight infection and help control the body's immune system. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the treatment plans and prognosis vary based on the specific type. 

  • Hodgkin lymphoma, also known as “Hodgkin disease,” occurs when white blood cells (lymphocytes) become abnormal. These abnormal cells divide and multiply and eventually create a tumor. It is distinguished from non-Hodgkin lymphoma by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which can be seen under the microscope. Adult Hodgkin disease, if caught early, is usually curable. 

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Lymphoma care at Allina Health

At Allina Health, we believe in a whole person approach to your lymphoma care, focusing on your overall well-being. You will have a team of cancer care specialists who work together seamlessly, which includes your primary care provider, medical and radiation oncologists, advanced practice providers, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and nurses who specialize in oncology. This also includes integrative oncology specialists, who can provide holistic care complementary to the treatment plan prescribed by your oncologist. We work closely with the physical and occupational rehabilitation team at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing to support your overall well-being.  

You can be assured that your team of experts come together as one team to share their expertise, continuously improve the care they provide and ensure you are receiving treatment that is individualized to your specific needs.  

In addition, your team at Allina Health will include a dedicated nurse navigator, who will help coordinate your care and be your primary point of contact from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. 

We also want you to play an active role in your care. One way you can do this is through your Allina Health account, an online tool that lets you track your appointments, review your test results, communicate with your healthcare team and more. 

Diagnosis of lymphoma at Allina Health

If you have swollen lymph nodes that do not get better or other symptoms that could be either Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, there are a few common tests that may be done. These include:  

  • bone marrow aspiration and biopsy 

These tests, especially the biopsies, will identify the specific type of lymphoma. They will also help you and your health care provider decide what treatment will be best for you.  

After diagnosis, you may need additional tests to evaluate the extent of the disease and to determine a treatment plan that best meets your needs. These tests may include:  

  • pulmonary function test 

  • echocardiogram 

Lymphoma treatment options at Allina Health

If you are diagnosed with lymphoma, your health care providers at Allina Health will work with you to create the best lymphoma treatment plan for you. Treatment will depend on several factors, including: 

  • type of lymphoma 

  • stage and category of disease 

  • symptoms 

  • your age  

  • your medical concerns and preferences  

Your treatment may include: 

Risk factors of lymphoma

Although the cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is unknown, some factors seem to make you more likely to develop it. These include: 

  • gender (males have a slightly higher risk than females) 

  • age (more common in those over age 60) 

  • location (living in a farming community; some studies suggest certain herbicides and pesticides may play a part in lymphoma, but this has not been proven) 

  • bacteria or viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori 

  • some inherited syndromes 

Some factors may increase your risk for Hodgkin lymphoma: 

  • age (those in their 20s and over 55 are at higher risk) 

  • gender (males have a slightly higher risk than females) 

  • family history of Hodgkin lymphoma 

  • history of EBV or HIV infection 

  • weakened immune system 

Symptoms of lymphoma

The symptoms of lymphoma are similar to many other health problems or conditions, many of which are not serious. Symptoms for both types of lymphoma include: 

  • chest pain 

  • coughing 

  • unexplained fever that lingers 

  • headaches, concentration problems, personality changes 

  • drenching night sweats 

  • reddened patches on the skin 

  • severe itchiness 

  • swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck, underarms or groin 

  • trouble breathing 

  • persistent fatigue 

  • unexplained weight loss 

  • loss of appetite or feeling full easily 

These symptoms are not always painful. If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, call your primary care provider. 

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Source: Allina Health Cancer Care
Reviewed by: Allina Health Cancer Care

First published: 6/3/2019
Last reviewed: 6/3/2019