What is lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a lymphatic system cancer which is part of the germ-fighting network of the body. The lymph system is composed of the lymph glands, spleen, thymus gland and bone marrow. Lymph fluids contain white blood cells which fight against infection. Lymph nodes serve as filters trapping and killing bacteria and viruses to avoid the spread of infection. Although the body is normally protected by the lymph system, lymph cells called lymphocytes may get cancerous. Lymphoma can affect all these areas as well as other organs.
Lymphomas can affect any area of the lymphatic system including:
- Bone marrow
- Lymph nodes
What causes lymphoma?
It is not clear what causes lymphoma. It begins when a white blood cell called a lymphocyte develops a genetic mutation. The mutation causes the cell to quickly replicate allowing many diseased lymphocytes to continue to multiply. The mutation enables the cells to continue to live while other normal cells die. It causes the lymph nodes to contain too many diseased and inactive lymphocytes causing inflammation of the lymph nodes, spleen and liver.