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There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Each of these classifications can be further broken down into a number of different subtypes; there are six forms of Hodgkin lymphoma and more than 60 forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Some lymphoma types are more common than others. For instance, B-cell lymphomas account for more than 85 percent of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnoses in the United States, while mantle cell lymphomas account for less than 5 percent. More than 60 percent of all Hodgkin lymphomas can be classified as nodular sclerosing lymphoma.
How to determine lymphoma type
To determine what type of lymphoma a patient has, a physician will remove a lymph node through a surgical biopsy, then send the node to a pathologist for further testing. A pathologist will look at the node under a microscope to determine:
- What type of cells are cancerous (B cells or T cells)
- What the cells look like and in what pattern they are arranged
- What type of proteins are present
- What genetic changes (chromosome features) can be detected in the lymphoma cells
This information can not only help an oncologist distinguish between the various types of lymphoma, but also help direct the best possible course of treatment. For instance, some types are more receptive to chemotherapy than others, while some are better candidates for immunotherapy and other targeted options.
Moffitt Cancer Center is a recognized leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Our pathologists work closely with our oncologists, furthering a common goal of accurately diagnosing each patient and placing him or her promptly on a path to treatment. With an on-site pathology lab and a skilled team of oncological experts, we are capable of diagnosing and treating even the rarest types of lymphoma.