A special type of white blood cell, called lymphocyte, is important for your body's resistance to disease. These cells get exposed to various substances within the body in an attempt to build the immunity. They collect and filter the substances at the Lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are found anywhere in the body, particularly in the neck, armpits, groin, above the heart, around the big blood vessels inside the abdomen. Lymphocytes may also group together in the tonsils, spleen and thymus. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphocytes in any of these areas.
Lymphoma is the 5th most common male cancer and the 6th most common cancer for females in Singapore, according to the Singapore Cancer Registry 2014-2018. There were about 833 cases reported yearly between the year 2014-2018. It is one of the most common cancer seen in children and young adults, and affects more men than women. Most adult patients develop lymphoma after the age of 50.
Lymphomas are broadly divided into Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, based on the looks under the microscope. There are many types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The size and shape of the cancer cells and arrangement of the cancer cells in the lymph node determine the type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are further divided into aggressive (high grade) or slow-growing (low-grade) groups. Hodgkin's lymphoma develops for a specific abnormal lineage of B-cells. It is diagnosed when these specific cancer cells are present.
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