In lymphoma, lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) start to multiply in the wrong way. These abnormal cells grow out of control and become cancer. They take over so there’s more lymphoma (cancer) cells than normal lymphocytes.

Lymphoma interrupts the normal working of the lymphatic and immune system. It’s much harder for your body to fight infection.

Lymphomas are in one of two categories.

They are either non-Hodgkin lymphoma or the less common Hodgkin lymphoma.

What to expect

Read our Patient Guide

Understand tests and treatments for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Download the guide to read online or print. 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

The 5-year survival rate of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Australia has significantly improved in the past 25 years.

Treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma depends on whether it is indolent or aggressive. Aggressive lymphoma needs urgent treatment because it grows quickly. Indolent lymphoma grows slowly. Some people may not experience any symptoms of indolent lymphoma before diagnosis. 

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma 

Most people will experience swollen (larger) lymph nodes that don’t hurt. Lymph nodes are in the neck, armpits, abdomen (tummy) and groin.  

Other less common symptoms include: 

  • fever higher than 38°C 
  • extreme sweating at night 
  • weight loss with no explanation.

Read more: How is lymphoma diagnosed?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma sub-types

Genomic testing may tell your doctor more about your lymphoma sub-type.

Please contact us or speak with your Epworth doctor for more information. 


Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of lymphoma with Reed-Sternberg cells present. It is most common in young adults and men. About 800 people in Australia will receive a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma this year.

Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma 

Most people with Hodgkin lymphoma experience swollen (larger) lymph nodes in the side and back of the neck. Some people experience swelling in the armpit or groin.

Other less common symptoms include: 

  • fever higher than 38°C 
  • fatigue  
  • feeling itchy
  • extreme sweating at night
  • itching or pain after drinking alcohol
  • weight loss with no explanation. 

See a specialist haematologist

The Epworth Centre for Immunotherapies and Snowdome Laboratories is a Centre of Excellence in blood cancer patient treatment and care.

You can expect personalised care as you navigate diagnosis, management and treatment with our specialists in East Melbourne, Box Hill, Geelong and Richmond.

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