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Overview of care for adult survivors of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Matthew S Davids, MD, MMSc
David C Fisher, MD
Section Editor
Larissa Nekhlyudov, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Alan G Rosmarin, MD


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) consists of a diverse group of malignant neoplasms of the lymphoid tissues variously derived from B cell progenitors, T cell progenitors, mature B cells, or mature T cells. In the United States, NHL is the fifth most common malignancy and the sixth most common cause of cancer death [1]. There are a growing number of long-term survivors of NHL. This is predominantly due to an increasing incidence and improved survival after initial treatment:

Approximately 71,000 people are diagnosed with NHL in the United States each year, and the incidence of the disease is on the rise, doubling since the 1970s, with a continued 1 to 2 percent increase per year this century [1]. These increases have been seen predominantly in high-grade, potentially curable subtypes [2].

NHL is often a disease of middle-aged and older adults, a demographic that continues to increase in size as the life expectancy of the general population increases.

Improvements in initial therapy have increased survival rates for some NHL histologies, such as diffuse large B cell lymphoma. NHL survivors now commonly live for many years after completing curative therapy.

Despite improvements in treatment, NHL survivors are at risk of developing long-term complications of intensive therapy, including second malignancies, cardiovascular disease, endocrine dysfunction, and cognitive sequelae.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 22, 2015.
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