Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the cells of the lymphatic system, the tissues and organs that produce white blood cells that fight infection and modulate the immune system. The lymphatic system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels. Representing 5 percent of all cancers in the United States, lymphoma includes two basic categories: Hodgkin’s lymphoma (also referred to as Hodgkin’s disease) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a name applied to many types of lymphomas that can be further divided into indolent (slow-growing) and aggressive (fast-growing) cancers. Because lymph tissue exists throughout the body, lymphoma can begin almost anywhere and may spread to other parts of the body.
The Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) uses the most current diagnostic methods for patients with lymphoma, including minimally invasive surgical techniques aided by video technology. We are the surgical team for Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), an exceptional collaboration between two world-class medical centers.
There are two major categories of lymphoma – Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s - and more than 20 tumor types, necessitating precise diagnosis and individualized approaches to treatment. Types include:
Factors that increase the risk of lymphoma include:
Signs and symptoms of lymphoma may include:
Brigham and Women’s Hospital lymphoma specialists are experienced in the most modern, safe and minimally invasive biopsy techniques to identify lymphomas. They will provide the highest quality diagnostic material to establish a definitive diagnosis. These surgical procedures include mediastinoscopy, video-assisted thoracic Surgery (VATS), and robotic-assisted mediastinal lymph node biopsy.
Diagnostic tests and procedures may include:
If cancer is found, the following tests may be done to study the cancer cells:
Treatment for lymphoma depends on many factors including the type of lymphoma, stage of the cancer and where it is located. You will be treated by a multidisciplinary team including experts in radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Often a combination of therapies will be recommended.
When you become a patient of The Lung Center you will meet many members of the team who will carefully review your medical history and studies. In addition, you will receive a thorough diagnostic examination where you will receive a recommendation for a therapy tailored just for you based on your specific diagnosis.
Any surgery recommended will be performed by an experienced, board-certified surgeon, in collaboration with a treatment team including oncologists, radiation oncologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists and pathologists, as well as nurses and physician assistants, all of whom specialize in taking care of patients with lymphoma.
Lymphoma patients benefit from the wide range of specialists at The Lung Center, including thoracic surgeons, oncologists, pulmonologists, cardiovascular medicine physicians and imaging experts. This collaboration ensures comprehensive diagnosis and targeted treatment for patients.
Visit the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center for more information about lymphoma.
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