What are the types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

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T-cell and B-cell lymphomas 

This describes which type of lymphocyte white blood cells are affected. 

B-cell lymphoma

B-cell lymphocyte white blood cells are affected. B-cells are made in your bone marrow and make antibodies to fight infection. 

T-cell lymphoma

T-cell lymphocytes are affected. T-cells are made in your thymus gland behind your breastbone and help your immune system fight infection and disease in other ways. T-cell lymphomas are rare.

Low-grade and high-grade lymphomas

Low grade and high grade describe how quickly the lymphoma is growing, based on how the cells look under the microscope.

Low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) refers to a range of different slow-growing lymphomas. They may need little or no treatment for months or even years. The speed of their growth might change over time and there may be times when the disease is more active. After treatment, low-grade lymphomas usually get smaller or even disappear altogether. Some types of low-grade lymphoma can be completely controlled with treatment. If they do return, they can be treated again.

Transformation

Lymphoma cells can sometimes change gradually over time. Some of the small cells can grow larger, giving rise to a mixture of cells. These larger cells are more likely to be faster growing and signal your disease is becoming more like a high-grade lymphoma. This is called transformation. Transformation is more common in B-cell lymphomas. If any part of your lymphoma has transformed, you will be treated as having high-grade lymphoma.

High-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma

High-grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas are fast-growing and need treatment quickly. They may cause you to become seriously unwell if not treated quickly. They can be either B-cell lymphomas or T-cell lymphomas.

Subtypes

There are more than 50 subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. See our booklets Understanding low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Understanding high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma for more details about the most common ones or call our Support Line on 1800 200 700 . 

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