Disease Information & Support

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Blood cancers can be treated, and some types of blood cancers can be cured.

The Word:

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Your doctor will determine the extent of your disease's progression by staging. Staging helps your doctor predict the disease's progression and develop a treatment plan.

NHL doesn't always begin in stage I and spread to more advanced stages. More than half of all patients with intermediate or aggressive disease and more than 80 percent of all patients with indolent disease are diagnosed with stage III or IV NHL. And if someone is diagnosed in stage IV, it doesn't mean that the disease is incurable - it may be highly curable depending on the subtype.
 
Some lymphomas can be described as "extranodal," which means they affect areas or organs other than the lymph nodes or have spread to other tissues near the major lymphatic areas. To identify extranodal lymphomas when staging, doctors place the letter "E" after a stage's Roman numeral.

NHL Stages

Stage Number and Location of Affected Lymph Nodes and Organs
Stage I 
  •  One lymph node region
Stage IE 
  •  One area or organ other than the lymph nodes
Stage II 

Two or more lymph node regions that are:

  • close to each other and
  • on the same side of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that we use to breathe
Stage IIE 
  • One organ or area other than the lymph nodes and
  • One or more lymph node regions nearby the affected organ or area and
  • Possibly one or more lymph node regions that are on the same side of the diaphragm
Stage III 
  •  Several lymph node regions both above and below the diaphragm
Stage IIIE 
  • One organ or area other than the lymph nodes and
  • Several lymph node regions both above and below the diaphragm
Stage IV 
  • Widespread disease in one or more organs or areas other than the lymph nodes and
  • Possibly one or more lymph node regions

 

Categories A and B

Stages are further divided into A and B categories to indicate whether patients have certain symptoms:

  • A Category: No fever, no excessive night sweating and no weight loss are present.
  • B Category: Fever, excessive night sweating and weight loss are present.

For example, if you were diagnosed with stage IIB non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you would:

  • have affected lymph nodes in two close regions of your body (such as the neck and collarbone or the neck and armpit) and
  • be suffering from fever, excessive night sweating and weight loss

Your treatment depends on your stage and category. Patients who fall in the B category usually need more aggressive treatment than A category patients do.

last updated on Sunday, March 20, 2011
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