Lymphoma | Cancer



We offer advanced care for lymphomas (blood cancers), including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Medically reviewed by Brian Jonas, M.D. on Oct. 12, 2023.

Cancer patient holding hands.

Cutting-Edge Care and Treatments

Many lymphomas are highly treatable. When you come to UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, you receive expert care from the region’s largest and most comprehensive Leukemia, Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma program.

Our specialized team of blood cancer specialists provide fast diagnoses and the latest treatments. You also benefit from cutting-edge therapies available through clinical trials. 


What Is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is the most common hematologic cancer (blood cancer). It occurs in lymphocytes (white blood cells). Your lymphatic system makes lymphocytes to help your immune system fight infections.

There are two main types of lymphoma:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma: Abnormally large lymphocytes called Reed-Sternberg cells form in your lymph nodes. These cancerous cells travel through your bloodstream. 
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: This blood cancer develops in your lymphatic system. There are more than 60 subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Lymphoma Symptoms

Lymphoma symptoms vary depending on the type. Early symptoms are often mild and can be easy to dismiss.

Common Symptoms

Signs of lymphoma include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes (that aren’t painful) in your neck, armpits or groin
  • Fatigue and fever
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss

Lymphoma Causes and Risk Factors

Changes (mutations) in the genetic makeup of blood-forming cells cause blood cancers like lymphomas.

A cell mutation (change) causes abnormal lymphocytes to multiply faster or live longer than healthy lymphocytes. These cancerous white blood cells travel through your bloodstream and lymphatic system. They may settle in your lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow and organs.

Other factors that can increase your risk of lymphoma include:


Hodgkin lymphoma tends to occur during your 20s or after age 55. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common after age 60.

Biological Sex

Males are more likely to develop lymphoma than females.

Family History

Having a close relative with a blood cancer may increase your risk.


Lymphoma tends to affect people who are white more than other races or ethnicities.

Viral Infections

Viral infections, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and mononucleosis, may lead to lymphoma.

Weak Immune Systems

Autoimmune diseases, immunosuppressant drugs or organ transplants can weaken your immune system. An impaired immune system makes you prone to lymphoma.


Lymphoma Diagnosis and Testing

Our blood cancer specialists expertly perform biopsies to diagnose lymphoma. Your provider may remove tissue from an enlarged lymph node or the entire node. A lab checks the sample for cancer cells.

If a biopsy indicates lymphoma, you may also get these tests:

  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: Your provider removes blood and a tiny piece of bone from inside your hip bone. A lab examines the sample to determine the cancer stage.
  • Imaging tests: Medical imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, can show an enlarged spleen or lymph nodes that may indicate cancer. 

Lymphoma Treatments

Lymphoma treatments depend on the type, stage and symptoms. The goal is to put the cancer into remission, which means you have no signs of the disease. We offer a complete range of advanced lymphoma treatments.


Chemotherapy is the main lymphoma treatment. These drugs circulate in your bloodstream, where they destroy cancer cells.

Learn more about chemotherapy
Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy often takes place after chemotherapy. High-energy radiation destroys cancer cells and stops them from multiplying. We offer all types of radiation therapy.

Learn more about radiation therapy

Immunotherapy drugs, such as monoclonal antibodies, help your immune system find and destroy cancer cells.

Find out more about immunotherapy
Stem Cell Transplant

A stem cell transplant replaces diseased cells with healthy ones. Your body starts to make new, cancer-free blood cells.

Explore our Stem Cell Transplant Program

“About Lymphoma and Lymphoma Subtypes,” Lymphoma Research Foundation, 

“NHL Subtypes,” Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 

Average age

39Of lymphoma diagnosis


15-19Hodgkin lymphoma is most commonly diagnosed cancer in teens


American Society of Clinical Oncology: Lymphoma – Hodgkin: Statistics

Request an Appointment

Our cancer specialists provide thorough evaluations and personalized treatment plans. Learn more about how to make an appointment at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.



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