Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs), also known as non-Hodgkin disease are diverse group of blood cancers that include any kind of lymphoma except Hodgkin's lymphomas. Types of NHL vary significantly in their severity, from slow growing to very aggressive types.
Hodgkin lymphomas have a particular appearance under the microscope and they contain cells called Reed-Sternberg cells. Non Hodgkin lymphomas look different under the microscope and do not contain Reed-Sternberg cells. The overall incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is rising in New Mexico, increasing by about 10% between 1992 and 2005. Rates are higher in males than in females, and higher in Whites than in Hispanics and Native Americans. The disease is relatively rare prior to age 30, but thereafter, incidence rates increase continuously with age in both males and females.
Progress in understanding DNA changes in lymphoma has already provided improved and highly sensitive tests for detecting this disease. Such tests can identify lymphoma cells based on changes such as chromosome translocations or rearrangements or specific gene mutations. Some of these tests are already in use, and others are being developed. The following imaging studies should be obtained in a patient suspected of having NHL:
• Chest radiography
• PET scanning
• Multiple gated acquisition (MUGA) scanning: For patients being considered for treatment with anthracyclines
• MRI of brain/spinal cord: For suspected primary CNS lymphoma, lymphomatous meningitis, paraspinal lymphoma, or vertebral body involvement by lymphoma.