The basics

Lymphomas are types of blood cancers that start in the lymphatic system – a network of glands and thin tubes that run through your body. If you have non-Hodgkin lymphoma, certain types of white blood cells in your lymphatic system go haywire (in Hodgkin lymphoma, different types of white blood cells are affected). The cells multiply and collect around glands and other parts of the lymphatic system, causing tumours to form.

Warning signs

The most common sign of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless lump in your neck, armpits or groin. Other symptoms include night sweats, fever, weight loss, tiredness, persistent itching, coughing and breathlessness.

How's it diagnosed?

The only way to identify non-Hodgkin lymphoma is using a biopsy. This involves giving you a local anaesthetic, taking cells from a tumour using a needle and examining the cells under a microscope for signs of cancer.

You can find out more about biopsies in our Getting diagnosed section.

How's it treated?

The exact treatment depends on your health, the type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma you have and what stage it’s at. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment, sometimes combined with radiotherapy.

Find out more about cancer treatments.