What's the difference between Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?

Answer From Rajiv K. Pruthi, M.B.B.S.

Both Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are types of lymphoma. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are an important part of the body's germ-fighting immune system.

The main difference between Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is in the specific lymphocyte each involves.

The difference between Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can be seen by looking at the cancer cells under a microscope. If a specific type of cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell is seen, the lymphoma is classified as Hodgkin's. If the Reed-Sternberg cell is not present, the lymphoma is classified as non-Hodgkin's.

Many subtypes of lymphoma exist. If you have lymphoma, lab tests will be used to examine a sample of your lymphoma cells to determine your specific subtype. Expect to wait a few days to get results from these specialized tests.

Your type of lymphoma helps to determine your prognosis and your treatment options. The types of lymphoma have very different disease courses and treatment choices. An accurate diagnosis is an essential part of getting the care you need.


Rajiv K. Pruthi, M.B.B.S.

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Jan. 10, 2023 See more Expert Answers