Harvard Health Letter

The no-name cancer

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma may not have much name recognition, but it's common and — the good news — often treatable, if not curable.

Unlike the cancers that affect the breast, lung, or prostate, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma isn't very well known and is even less well understood by the public. That non- prefix may be one reason why: anything named for what it is not is bound to furrow brows.

More confusion awaits anyone first learning about the disease, a group that includes many newly diagnosed patients — and their loved ones — attempting an Internet-aided scramble up a steep learning curve. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma comes in more than two dozen different types. Treatment and prognosis vary greatly by type. The names alone are daunting: diffuse large B cell lymphoma, splenic marginal zone lymphoma, lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »