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Supporting people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Information for newly diagnosed patients

What is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?

You may have heard your doctor describe non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a “blood cancer” or “blood disease”, or even a “cancer of the lymphatic system”. What does this mean?

Your blood contains several types of cells, including:

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a disease in which white blood cells, or lymphocytes, become cancerous and start to grow and multiply uncontrollably. These can collect in the lymph nodes, and other parts of the body, which then swell and cause the symptoms of lymphoma.

There are many different types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, depending on whether it’s indolent (slow growing) or aggressive (fast growing), and which one of the 30 different types of lymphocyte is involved.

The disease can affect people of all ages and both sexes, although it’s more common in men and older people. There is no known cause of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and it can happen to anyone. There is nothing you could have done to stop you developing it.

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