Medical Q&As

Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma?

My dad of 74 years has been told he has a type pf cancer called "non Hodgkin’s lymphoma”. What is it and how serious is it?

The lymphomas are a group of malignant diseases of the lymph glands. Hodgkin’s lymphoma was the first type of lymphoma to be described and the term non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was coined to refer to all other forms of the disease that are not Hodgkin’s. This is unfortunate and is a form of loose terminology because the various types of lymphoma can differ in their actual pathology, treatment and ultimately their prognosis. You might like to read our feature on Hodgkin’s disease at In general terms the overall prognosis for the lymphomas has improved significantly in recent years and they are generally regarded as being among the most treatable of malignant diseases. However I note your father’s age and suggest that you get a more specific diagnosis in order to establish the likely outcome for him.