Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cancer Lymph Nodes Anatomy

To better understand lymphoma, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes throughout the body. The system transports a type of white blood cell, called lymphocytes. These cells play a role in fighting infection.

There are two main types of lymphocytes:

  • B lymphocytes
  • T lymphocytes

The lymphatic system performs two major functions:
  • Stores and transports cells that fight infection
  • Removes excess fluid from body tissues

The lymphatic system consists of:
  • Lymph vessels:
    • A network of vessels throughout the body that transport white blood cells called lymphocytes.
    • There are two main types of lymphocytes: B-cells and T-cells.
  • Lymph glands:
    • The lymph vessels connect in many areas known as lymph nodes.
    • The nodes act as filters to fight infection in the body.
    • Lymph nodes can enlarge in response to inflammation.
    • This can occur due to cancer or an infection nearby the lymph vessels.

Anatomy examples:
  • Areas of lymph nodes in the body
  • Areas in the body where lymph nodes can be felt
  • Abnormal lymph node cells due to Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymphatic system around the armpit and breast
  • Lymphatic system in the abdomen

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cancer Lymph Nodes References
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  2. Kelly JJ, Karcher DS. Lymphoma and peripheral neuropathy: a clinical review. Muscle Nerve. 2005 Mar;31(3):301-13. [15543550]
  3. Martin-Duverneuil N, Mokhtari K, et al. Intravascular malignant lymphomatosis. Neuroradiology. 2002 Sep;44(9):749-54. [12221446]
  4. Mo JQ, Dimashkieh H, Mallery SR, Swerdlow SH, Bove KE. MALT Lymphoma in Children: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2004 Jul-Aug;7(4):407-13. [15455481]
  5. Spagnolo DV, Ellis DW, Juneja S, Leong AS, Miliauskas J, Norris DL, Turner J. The role of molecular studies in lymphoma diagnosis: a review. Pathology. 2004 Feb;36(1):19-44. [14757555]
  6. Yamanaka R, Tanaka R. Advances for the treatment of primary central nervous system lymphoma (review). Oncol Rep. 2004 Sep;12(3):563-8. [15289838]
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