More On: Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Thompson says he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma more than two years ago.

He says the disease is in remission, with no illness or symptoms.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard takes a look at the disease itself, and how it affects life expectancy.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is cancer of the cells of the lymphatic system.

It can start almost anywhere in the body.

And it can spread to almost any part of the body.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't satisfied in my own mind as to the nature of it and the fact that not only will I have an average lifespan but in the meantime I will not be affected in anyway by it," says UT Medical Center oncologist Dr. Wahid Hanna.

There are many different types of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In the low-grade lymphoma, which Fred Thompson has revealed he has, the lymphomas grow slowly and cause few symptoms early in the disease.

"Sometimes the patients will not have any symptoms and sometimes they will have fever, and chills and night sweats and weight loss," Dr. Hanna says.

But the most common symptom is a painless swelling of the lymph nodes.

"When you have a cold, you have lymph nodes, or lumps in here, these are the lymph nodes and when you have malignant lymphoma, these lymph nodes are attacked by the malignant cells," Dr. Hanna says.

The type of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is diagnosed by how the cancer cells look under a microscope and how quickly they are likely to grow.

It's different from Hodgkin's Lymphoma and occurs eight times more often.

It's more common in men than women, and the likelihood of getting it increases as you get older.

Treatment depends on the stage and grade of the disease, the patient's age and general health, but varies from watchful waiting to chemotherapy.

"It's one of the diseases that we can say with the proper treatment, we can talk about remission in 70 to 90 percent, or so," Dr. Hanna explains.

Thompson says he's been in remission for nearly three years, a patient is considered cured there is no relapse after five.

There are more than 30 different subtypes of the disease.

And survival varies widely, depending on the subtype, but overall the five year survival is 63 percent.


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  • by diane Location: United Kingdom on Mar 13, 2012 at 09:38 PM
    I was diagnosed with NHL 2010. mine is indolent at the moment.I try not to worry about life expectancy as anyone could go at any time of anything, plus the specialist I see said if I keep fit and healthy I could live for years. One of his patients is still going strong after 16 years. The thing that does bother me is the amount of colds I catch and how tired I get.I lost my Mother and Aunt to a blood cancer all I can say to anyone out there is, enjoy each day you have whether or not you have an illness. my best wishes to you all, stay strong and don't give up the fight xx
  • by Kim Taylor Location: andersoncounty on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM
    I WAS READING ALL OF YOUR COMENTS, MY MOM HAS ANA NON HODGKINS THE NEGATIVE SHE HAS HAS HER LAST ROUND OF CHEMO THEN NEXT IS RADATION.IT IS VERY HARD YO DEAL WITH. SHE WENT TO VANDERBELT TO MEET THE DOCTORS ABOUT BONE MARROW AND SHE WAS TOLD SHE WOULD NOT SURRIVE THE SURGERY.HER IS STAGE 2 SHE WAS TOLD IT WOULD COME BACK SO IF ANY ONE CAN HELP PLEASE
  • by beth Location: philippines on Oct 13, 2011 at 09:52 PM
    I'am a non hodskin lymphoma also i was diagnose stage 1 last dec.2010. i am also afraid of recurrence,and i did not take chemotheraphy, i took alternative med. and food supplement daily,since then.thanks thereare also survivor like me.
  • by Della Location: Salem Va on Mar 3, 2010 at 09:35 PM
    Valerie Thanks for Your Post. I was Hoping to find someone who had suvived a long time. I Was Just told that I Have Low Grade Lynphoma. I am scared But was glad to see a Longtime surviver. That gives me some hope. Thanks Fred also. Would appreciate any advice You can offer.
  • by renee Location: sumter,sc on Feb 22, 2009 at 12:27 AM
    wanted to find out more info on this disease..my husbands grandfather was just diagnosed with it and lung cancer...any help would be greatly appriciated
  • by Valerie Location: Tennessee on Apr 19, 2007 at 09:08 PM
    I am a 15 year Non-Hodgkins's Lymphoma Survivor! My symptoms were being extremely tired and run down, headaches and a large swollen area on the back of my neck close to my hair line. I received 3 months chemotherapy under the care of Dr. Bruce Avery in Knoxville. I cannot say enough about what a wonderful, caring doctor he is. If possible, could you please forward my best wishes to Fred Thompson and let him know that there is another Non-Hodgkins survivor in Tennessee that wishes him the best!

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