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What is Lymphoma?

Lymphomas are blood cancers that develop in the lymph nodes and tissues of the lymphatic system, an important part of the body’s immune system. Lymphomas begin in the white blood cells (lymphocytes) and affect the body’s ability to fight infection. Bone marrow makes red blood cells, blood platelets, and white blood cells. Lymphomas sometimes start from bone marrow lymphocytes.

The two most common types of lymphoma are:

About the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is made up of organs, lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels throughout the body, making up a major part of the body’s immune system. Lymph nodes are bean-sized organs found throughout the body, primarily in the neck, armpit, groin and the chest and abdomen. They are connected by a system of lymphatic vessels. These vessels are like veins but, instead of carrying blood, they carry lymph and immune system cells.

The lymphatic system includes:

  • Spleen: The spleen is an organ under the lower part of the rib cage on the left side of the body. The spleen makes white blood cells and other immune system cells to help fight infection.
  • Thymus Gland: The thymus lies behind the upper part of the breastbone and in front of the heart.
  • Adenoids and Tonsils: These are collections of lymphoid tissue located at the back of the throat.