Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the immune system – specifically, it is a cancer of immune cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. There are two broad types of lymphoma (Non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s) and many subtypes.
In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, B-cells and T-cells are affected – both being types of lymphocyte white blood cell with special roles in immunity.
In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the Cancer cells are usually an abnormal type of B lymphocyte, named Reed-Sternberg cells. There are many subtypes of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, typed by differences seen under the microscope – but a very high percentage of cases are classed as classic Hodgkin’s.
In 2020, 10 400 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are expected in Canada and an estimated 2900 Canadians will die from the disease (Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2020).