Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin Anatomy

To better understand non-Hodgkin 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 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin References
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  2. Kouroukis CT, Browman GP, Esmail R, Meyer RM. Chemotherapy for older patients with newly diagnosed, advanced-stage, aggressive-histology non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2002 Jan 15;136(2):144-52. [11790067]
  3. Lamm SH, Engel A, Byrd DM. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and benzene exposure: a systematic literature review. Chem Biol Interact. 2005 May 30;153-154:231-7. [15885679]
  4. Martin-Duverneuil N, Mokhtari K, Behin A, Lafitte F, Hoang-Xuan K, Chiras J. Intravascular malignant lymphomatosis. Neuroradiology. 2002 Sep;44(9):749-54. [12221446]
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