Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and glands.

The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and glands.
beginning of content


Lymphoma is a type of cancer which affects the lymphatic system. While lymphoma is a serious disease, good treatment options are available.

Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The lymphatic system is made up of a network of tubes (lymph vessels) and glands (lymph nodes) throughout your body.

The lymphatic system collects and filters waste products from the body in a clear fluid called lymph. The lymph also contains white blood cells called lymphocytes, which fight infection.

Lymphoma occurs when the lymphocytes are damaged. This damage can make them cancerous, which is where they grow and multiply abnormally. When this happens, the abnormal lymphocytes lose their ability to fight off infections.

There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They are spread and treated differently.

The symptoms of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are similar. The most common symptom is a painless swelling in one or more lymph nodes, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.

Both lymphoma types are diagnosed by biopsy, where a sample of the affected lymph tissue is tested.

Treatment for lymphoma is usually chemotherapy, radiotherapy or both. If you are having treatment for lymphoma, the choice of treatment depends on:

  • the type of lymphoma (Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin)
  • your age and general health
  • your symptoms
  • whether or not the disease has spread to other areas of the body
  • what you want.

If you suspect you or some you know has lymphoma, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Last reviewed: February 2017

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 279 results

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma | Cancer Australia Children's Cancers

Information on Non-Hodgkin lymphoma including risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Mum Had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma - CanTeen

Read a real story written by a young person about how they coped with one of their parents dying. Learn more about help and support with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Lymphoma - Cancer Council Australia

What is lymphoma? Find out about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Information, Treatment & Support - CanTeen

Hodgkin's Lymphoma covers multiple types of conditions that attack the immune system. Learn more about causes, diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma occurs when abnormal white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the lymphatic system grow in an uncontrolled way.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Lymphoma - Lab Tests Online AU

Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphoid cells, a particular type of white blood cell which fight infection and monitor the immune system. Lymphomas form solid tumours found in lymph nodes and all other parts of the body. Lymph nodes are commonly involved because this is the part of the body where lymphocytes carry out their main functions. Lymphoma is distinguished from leukaemia by the lymphoid cells of leukaemia which are easily found in the peripheral blood whereas this occurs rarely and usually only in very advanced stages of lymphoma.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma - NT.GOV.AU

Prevention, symptoms and treatment for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Read more on NT Health website

Lymphoma - Cancer Pathways

For more information about these lymphomas and where to go for support and help call the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420 or visit

Read more on Cancer Council Victoria website

Primary Cutaneous B-Cell Lymphoma (PCBCL) - ACD

Tumours of the lymph nodes and lymphatic system are called lymphomas. B-cell lymphomas are caused by an excess of B-cell lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website


Read more on Queensland Health website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo