Noteworthy Numbers: Lymphoma

TON - September 2016, Vol 9, No 5 - Hematologic Cancers


Lymphomas, cancers that begin in lymphatic cells of the immune system, can be divided into 2 main categories: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Hodgkin lymphoma is a fairly homogeneous disease characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Hodgkin lymphoma is far less common than NHL—approximately 8000 new Hodgkin lymphoma cases are diagnosed in the United States annually compared with over 70,000 new cases of NHL; more than 60 types of lymphoma are included in the NHL category.1 Presented below are a few facts about various forms of lymphoma.

In 2013, an estimated 569,536 people were living with NHL. Estimates also indicate that in 2016 NHL will represent 3.4% of all new cancer cases in the United States and that 20,150 people will die of NHL.2

The 5-year relative survival rate for people with Hodgkin lymphoma has increased from 40% for whites (1960-1963) to 88.3% for all races (2005-2011). If diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age younger than 45 years, the 5-year relative survival rate is 94.1%. For NHL, the 5-year relative survival rate rose from 31% in whites (1960-1963) to 71.9% for all races (2005-2011).3

Approximately 85% of all NHL cases are B-cell lymphomas, and 15% are T-cell lymphomas. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common form of NHL, accounting for up to 33% of newly diagnosed cases. Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma is a T-cell lymphoma that accounts for approximately 3% of all lymphomas in adults and between 10% and 30% of all lymphomas in children.4

NHL can develop at any age, but more than 95% of cases occur in adults, and about 50% of patients are older than 66 years.5 Hodgkin lymphoma can also occur in children and adults but is most common from ages 15 to 40 years (especially in the 20s) and after age 55 years. Approximately 10% to 15% of cases are diagnosed in children and teenagers, but Hodgkin lymphoma is rare in children younger than age 5 years.6

The Lymphoma Coalition is a worldwide nonprofit network of lymphoma patient groups. Established in 2002 by 4 lymphoma organizations, its purpose is to aid organizations that support and inform patients with lymphoma. Currently there are 66 member organizations from 44 countries. The Lymphoma Coalition helps organize World Lymphoma Awareness Day on September 15 each year.7


  1. Published July 6, 2015. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  2. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  3. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  4. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  5. Updated January 22, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  6. Updated February 9, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  7. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Last modified: November 11, 2016