What is T-Cell Lymphoma? (with picture)

Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky
Lymphoma is caused by immune cells being harmed or altered.
Lymphoma is caused by immune cells being harmed or altered.

There are different types of lymphoma, but T-cell lymphoma specifically attacks cells that when healthy work to fight diseases and bacteria. T-cell lymphoma is a standard term for a number of diseases of the Non-Hodgkin’s variety. There are four main groups of T-Cell lymphomas. They are anaplastic, angioimmunoblastic, cutaneous, and extranodal.

A basic breakdown of lymphomas will help make T-cell lymphoma simpler to understand. Lymphoma is caused by immune cells being harmed or otherwise altered. Such altering of the cells can cause proteins to develop in an inappropriate way.

This can lead to increased cell division or longer life of cells that should have already died. Continuous, rapid replication of abnormal cells can create tumors, the result of accumulation of unhealthy cells. Tumors generally occur where healthy cells of this type would usually be found, for example, the lymph nodes.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, can strike at any time but is most prevalent amongst children and young people. It appears to affect males more often than females. It’s not as common as some other types and the cause is as yet unknown. The first symptom tends to be enlarged lymph nodes and biopsy is required for diagnosis.

Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma usually affects older adults and is also more prevalent amongst men. It too requires biopsy for diagnosis as well as other tests, but the symptoms are somewhat different. Symptoms may include fever and a rash may appear. This type of T-cell lymphoma can be aggressive moving quickly to the organs.

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, as the name implies, refers to lymphomas that affect the skin. Lymph nodes may also swell, but irritated areas of skin are generally noticed. With this type, biopsy will be done on the abnormal skin. This type is not as aggressive and in fact it may be several years before it is noticed, since it can resemble other skin conditions.

Extranodal lymphoma is generally found in areas other than the lymph nodes, such as the intestinal tract or the nasal cavity. The nasal type is uncommon and may mimic different types of sinus infections. Tests are necessary to determine if Epstein-Barr virus is also present.

While certain types of viruses are linked to cancer causation, lymphoma is not contagious and cannot be spread to others. If you notice tenderness or swelling in areas that contain lymph nodes, such as armpits, neck, or the groin area it is a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. The same is true of lesions on the skin that don’t go away or change in size, shape, or color.

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    • Lymphoma is caused by immune cells being harmed or altered.
      Lymphoma is caused by immune cells being harmed or altered.