Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

What is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin’s disease is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer in the lymphatic system.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma causes the cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually causing tumors to grow. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells also can spread to other organs.

There are several types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which are classified by how quickly they spread.

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. Its function is to fight disease and infections.

The lymphatic system includes:

  • Lymph – fluid in which the lymphocyte cells are suspended.
  • Lymph vessels – thin tubes that carry lymph fluid throughout the body.
  • Lymphocytes – cells that fight infection and disease.
  • Lymph nodes – bean-shaped organs, found in the underarm, groin, neck and abdomen, that act as filters for the lymph fluid as it passes through them.