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There are many types of lymphoma. The most popular classification of lymphoma is the Hodgkin's and the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The word Hodgkin's lymphoma was coined after the scientist Thomas Hodgkin who discovered the type of cancer that attacks the lymphocytes in 1832. After the discovery of Hodgkin in 1832, there have been more types of lymphoma found by other scientists. These other types of lymphatic disorders, which caused the lymphocytes to grow abnormally, are collectively referred to as Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is commonly known as the white blood cells which is directly associated with the person's immune system. The white blood cells are the body's soldiers that fight off infection. Where the white bloods cells are growing abnormally, it cannot perform its functions well which may result into the weakening of the body's ability to fight off infections. This is the reason why people who have lymphoma are very prone to infection.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has many types and a classification have been recently issued by the World Health Organization. The classification issued by the World Health Organization is highly technical and may not be relevant to people who do not have medical background or orientation. Therefore, for purposes of discussion, let us limit our scope to layman's understanding of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is important to note that Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma look and behaves in different ways. Where a patient in diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma, it is important that a test be conducted further to determine what type of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that the patient has. Knowing the specific type of lymphoma that the patient has will determine the type of treatments that the patient should undertake. Classifying and grading the lymphoma will give the doctor information as to whether the cancer is indolent (often described as low grade or slow growing) or the aggressive type (which is often known to be high-grade or fast growing). Knowing the type of lymphoma that the patient has could be done by conducting a biopsy.

In developed countries like those located in the European continent, North America and Australia, a rise in cases of lymphoma have been noted for the past 50 years. Most of those affected with lymphoma are those who are already past their sixties. The average age of those diagnosed with lymphoma is around the age of 65. Although disease affects both men and women, it significantly more common is men than in women. Scientist has no clear explanation to this phenomenon. Some scientist attributes the increase to the changing lifestyle of the people in these countries specially on the types of food they eat and the fact that most of these developed countries have fast paced lifestyle that expose people to tremendously stress. According to these scientists, lifestyle, coupled with a family history of lymphoma, greatly increase the risk of people in developed countries to lymphoma. Accordingly, there are more men who live unhealthy lifestyle than women, which accounted for the greater number of men suffering from lymphoma than women.

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