Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the body’s lymphatic system. It is a cancer of a type of white blood cells called Lymphocytes which are part of this system. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system made up of a network of cells and tissues including the white cells called Lymphocytes, lymphatic vessels and organs that work together to fight germs and rid the body of toxins, waste and unwanted materials. The lymphatic system transports lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
Patients with lymphoma often notice a swelling of their lymph nodes caused by the formation of painless lumps or tumours. Clusters of lymph nodes are located in the neck, armpits and groin and in Lymphoma patients might have lumps in these regions. Lymphoma can also occur in other organs as small amounts of lymph and lymph tissue pass through virtually all organs in the body.
Lymphoma can be broadly divided into two categories based on pattern of cells noticed in the biopsy (small chunk of tissue obtained via a needle or a minor surgical procedure) of the affected lymph node or tissue as follows:
Lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in males and sixth in females in Singapore. Over a five-year period from 2014 to 2018, 4,176 cases were reported in Singapore.
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