Types of Lymphoma

Lymphoma is divided into two general categories: Hodgkin's disease (HD; also called Hodgkin's lymphoma) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). In the United States, there has been a general decline in HD rates over the past 30 years, and this disease now accounts for only 1 percent of all cancers. By contrast, rates of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have increased by more than 70 percent during this same period of time.

NHL is the fifth most common type of cancer and accounts for about 4 percent of all cancers in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), approximately 70,800 new cases of NHL and 9,190 new cases of HD were diagnosed in the United States in 2014.

The majority of NHL (95 percent) occur in adults 40 to 70 years of age; however, some NHL subtypes are among the most common cancers in children. More men than women develop NHL, and rates are particularly high among men who live in areas with epidemic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) infection, such as the San Francisco/Oakland area. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is more common in Caucasians than in African Americans, Japanese Americans, or Chinese Americans.

About 60 percent of Hodgkin's disease cases involve advanced stage disease and 40 percent involve early stage disease. Men typically have higher rates of Hodgkin's disease than women. This difference is particularly noticeable in children and among people older than 35 years of age.

Hodgkin's disease is more common in Caucasians than in African Americans or Asians. The disease affects people of all ages, although it is most common in young adults (ages 15–40) and older adults (older than 55 years of age). In women older than age 55, this age spread may be related to hormonal factors. Only about 10–15 percent of HD cases occur in children younger than 16 years of age. The disease is uncommon in children age 5 and under.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2015