Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Non Hodgkin Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system that forms part of the immune system.

Specialised white blood cells called lymphocytes help protect the body from infection and disease. NHL arises when these lymphocytes undergo a malignant change and multiply in an uncontrolled way.

These abnormal lymphocytes form tumours in lymph nodes (glands) and other parts of the body.


Nationwide there were 4828 new cases of NHL in 2012.

There are different types of NHL:

  • Indolent NHLs grow slowly; the most common type is follicular lymphoma
  • Aggressive NHLs grow quickly; the most common type is diffuse large cell lymphoma

Risk of diagnosisbefore age 75

Men Men: 1 in 59 Woman Women: 1 in 87

Causes/Risk Factors

The causes of NHL are not fully understood. Some research suggests that NHL results from damage to one or more of the genes that normally control the development of blood cells.

Some risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing NHL include:

  • Immuno-suppression
  • Exposure to ionising radiation




If the information on this website raises any questions or concerns relating to your cancer, please call Cancer Council on 13 11 20. Specialist cancer nurses staff the line Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm.