To speak to a specialist cancer nurse,
freefone the National Cancer Helpline
1800 200 700
Mon—Thurs 9am—7pm Fri 9am—5pm
Your lymphatic system is made up of tubes or vessels that run throughout your body. It is quite like your blood system and it works with it. It carries a watery, thin liquid called lymph. The lymph fluid has a large number of white blood cells, called lymphocytes. There are two types of lymphocytes; they are called B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes. These help to fight infection.
There are bean-shaped vessels along your lymph vessels. These are called lymph nodes. You can feel the nodes in some areas of your body. You might be able to find them in your armpits, your neck and in your groin. You have other nodes that you won´t be able to feel as easily. These are in your chest, your abdomen or tummy area and in your pelvis. Some body organs also form part of the lymphatic system. These include:
The lymphatic system does some very important jobs. These include:
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Generally, lymphoma cells grow in lymph glands (nodes). This causes the glands to get bigger or swell. Hodgkin lymphoma can start in any part of your body, but the most common place for it to start is the neck, armpit or chest. The lymphoma cells can sometimes spread to other lymph glands. They can also get into your bloodstream and spread to other organs. Hodgkin lymphoma can also start in an organ, for example in your liver, stomach or bowel.
There are two types of lymphoma. One is called Hodgkin and the other is non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The difference between the two types depends on the appearance of the lymphoma cells under the microscope. Most lymphomas are non-Hodgkin lymphomas. The information here is only about Hodgkin lymphoma. Please see the section on non-Hodgkin lymphoma for information about that cancer.
There were 107 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed in Ireland in 2007. The treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is very successful, even if it has spread to other areas in the body.
Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm