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What is the difference between non hoshkins lymphoma and the other

Roar's picture
Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2013

my son in law starts chemo for stage 2 hodgkin  lymphoma on Tuesday, and I was just wondering what he can expect- I had neclass cancer almost 5 years ago and the site was great, so I mentioned it to him soon as I heard he had cancer. Everything he has been told points to a good prognosis. I just don't know what the difference is between the two other than the HL is worse than the NHL

po18guy's picture
Posts: 1222
Joined: Nov 2011

All lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. It attacks the body's ability to fight off illness, and involves lymphocytes which flow in the blood and lymphatic system. Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer of B-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells). Most varities of Hodgkin's are easily identified by large cells in the tumor, known as "Reed-Sternberg" cells. Somewhere around 80-90% of Hodgkin's patients have long-term remissions from treatment. And, many of those are for life. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma does not have the Reed-Sternberg cells, and can involve either the B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes or N/K lymphocytes. But, the prognosis is generally very good for those with Hodgkin's.  

Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3699
Joined: May 2012


Like the dojo picture. Both of my kids got black belts in kempo karate.

As my oncologsit very simply told my wife and I when we first met him: Lymphoma is cancer of the white blood cellls. Leukemia is also cancer of the white blood cells. But, oversimplifying a little,  leukemia is when they are cancerous in the bloodstream, lymophoma when they are cancerous in the lymphatic system. Lymphoma can be Hodgkin's type or Non-Hodgkin's type, the difference between them, as po18guy very well explained, is in the cell types.

Non-Hodgkins is much more common than Hodgkin's. There are around 40 differning strains, or types, of Non-Hodgkin's.  There are five strains of Hodgkin's. His Stage II is "early stage," or beginning disease. 

All strains of lymphoma vary in how aggressive or non-aggressive they typically are.  But very generally, most types of HL are not very aggressive, and the prognosis for cure is very good/very high.  He very likely will be fine long-term, but the chemo meds are very harsh, and he most likely will be weak during treatement, and for a few months after treatment ends. 

I would not agree with the general statement that "Hodgkin's is worse."  The few strains of lymphoma that are extremely aggressive and at times deadly are in fact mostly Non-Hodgkin's strains.    Any lymphoma can be fatal, but most, with treatment, have great survival and/or cure rates.



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