What Is the Prognosis for Lymphoma Cancer?

Survival rates depend on the form of lymphoma diagnosed, how advanced the cancer is when first diagnosed, and other risk factors. There are several forms of lymphoma, according to the American Cancer Society. These include Hodgkin disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, skin lymphomas and Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.

Lymphoma is a general term for cancers that begin in the lymphocytes, says WebMD. Lymphocytes are the infection-fighting cells of the immune system and are found throughout the body but are concentrated in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus and bone marrow.

When a patient is diagnosed with lymphoma, tests are run to determine how far the cancer has spread from its initial location, explains the American Cancer Society. A staging system describes the degree to which a cancer spreads, with lower numbers indicating less extensive spreading. In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, if cancer cells are found only in one lymph node, the cancer is at stage 1. In a patient with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer cells have spread beyond the lymph system into organs such as the brain, spinal cord or liver. Hodgkin disease and other forms of lymphoma are described with a related but slightly modified staging systems.

Approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with stage 1 or stage 2 Hodgkin disease live at least five years beyond initial diagnosis, reports the American Cancer Society. For those diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin disease, the five-year survival rate drops to about 80 percent, and for stage 4 patients, it falls to about 65 percent.

The prognosis for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma is complicated by several additional risk factors. However, 69 percent of patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma survive more than five years, and 59 percent survive at least 10 years, the American Cancer Society reports.