Types of Lymphoma

Female doctor in lab coat on left speaks with colleague in lab coat. Patient sitting in chair in background.

MSK experts, including medical oncologist Pamela Drullinsky (left) and nurse practitioner Susan McCall, are leading experts in treating all types of lymphoma.

There are more than 70 different types of lymphoma. They range from indolent (slow growing) to highly aggressive. Lymphomas are categorized into two broad groups: non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. Both types can occur in either children or adults.

Most lymphomas arise from the two main types of white blood cells called lymphocytes: B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells). The cancerous cells can travel to different parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, or other organs. From there, they can accumulate and form tumors.

The treatment and the chance of a cure depend on the type of lymphoma and the stage.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
The most common form of lymphoma is non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It tends to develop in older adults. Several types of treatment can be used against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplantation.

Hodgkin Lymphoma
Hodgkin lymphoma is also known as Hodgkin’s disease. It usually begins in a type of B cell that is found in the bone marrow. Hodgkin’s disease is considered one of the most curable forms of cancer, especially if it is diagnosed and treated early. Several types of treatment can be used against Hodgkin lymphoma, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation.