Skip to main content

We’ve updated our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. By using this site, you agree to these terms.


Lymphoma care at every step

Find a lymphoma specialist


Cancer is complex, and no two people have the same experience. No matter where you are on your cancer journey, our experienced team will create a customized treatment plan designed just for you.

What is lymphoma?

Your body has a large network of lymph nodes, known as the lymphatic system. Fluid known as lymph uses the lymph nodes to travel through the body, delivering infection-fighting white blood cells. Lymph nodes filter this fluid.

Lymphoma develops when lymph nodes begin to produce too many irregular white blood cells. These damaged cells build up in your body and begin to crowd out the healthy ones, making it difficult to fight infections.

Types of lymphoma

While there are many different types of lymphoma, the two main categories are:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – The most common type of lymphoma, this type most frequently occurs in older adults.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma – Also known as Hodgkin disease, this type of lymphoma most commonly originates in bone marrow.

Symptoms of lymphoma

Lymphoma often does not produce any symptoms in its early stages. Additionally, different stages of lymphoma produce different symptoms.

Symptoms of lymphoma commonly include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, neck or groin area that do not go away
  • Bone pain
  • Sudden, unintentional weight loss
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Fatigue
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath

Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean you have lymphoma. However, it’s still important to talk to your doctor, as these can be signs of an underlying health issue.

What is lymphoma?

Your body has a large network of lymph nodes, known as the lymphatic system. Fluid known as lymph uses the lymph nodes to travel through the body, delivering infection-fighting white blood cells. Lymph nodes filter this fluid.

Lymphoma develops when lymph nodes begin to produce too many irregular white blood cells. These damaged cells build up in your body and begin to crowd out the healthy ones, making it difficult to fight infections.

Request an appointment

Talk to our team today to schedule an appointment. Call 570-808-4772 and say “cancer services.”
Call for an appointment

Risk factors for lymphoma

Certain behaviors, risk factors and genetics can increase your chances of developing leukemia.

For non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, these include:

  • Age: While non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can occur at any age, it’s most common in adults over 60.
  • Having an impaired immune system: People with poorly functioning immune systems have a greater risk of developing lymphoma.
  • Other risk factors: Other risk factors that can raise the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
    • Exposure to certain industrial pesticides or chemicals
    • Previous exposure to radiation (either from cancer treatment or elsewhere)
    • Having the Epstein-Barr virus

Risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Age: While Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age, it’s most commonly seen in those age 20 to 30 and over 55.
  • Gender: Hodgkin lymphoma affects more men than women.
  • Family history: If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, your risk of developing lymphoma is higher.

Diagnosing lymphoma

Because lymphoma symptoms may not appear until the disease is in its later stages, this type of blood cancer can be difficult to diagnose.

We offer screening tests that use the most advanced technology to better detect blood cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable. Some of the diagnostic tests your doctor may perform to test for lymphoma include:

  • Physical examination – Your doctor will first review your medical history, asking you questions about the symptoms you’ve experienced and how long you’ve had them. Additional testing may be ordered if he or she notices any signs or symptoms of lymphoma, such as enlarged lymph nodes, persistent bruising or unexplained weight loss.
  • Bone marrow biopsy – During a biopsy, your doctor removes a small piece of bone, as well a small amount of bone marrow, using a thin needle or a surgical procedure. Then they examine the samples under a microscope to find out if they contain cancerous cells (also called malignant cells).
  • Bone marrow aspiration – During this test, your doctor will insert a thin, hollow needle into your bone in order to remove a small amount of bone marrow liquid.
  • Imaging tests – Diagnostic imaging tests, such MRIs, CT scans and PET scans, are used to look for enlarged organs or lymph nodes, or to see if cancerous cells have spread to other areas of the body.
  • Spinal tap – During this procedure, your doctor uses a needle to take a small amount of spinal fluid. Then they can identify whether cancerous cells have spread to your central nervous system.

Treating lymphoma

At Geisinger, our team of highly trained lymphoma specialists includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurse navigators and support staff who come together to develop a personalized plan to best treat your lymphoma.

Depending on the type, location and stage of your cancer, one or more of the following treatments may be recommended.


Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is a drug-based treatment designed to slow the growth of or shrink tumors. Chemotherapy drugs can be given through an IV or taken in a pill form.

Your chemotherapy may be given:

  • Before your surgery, to attempt to reduce the size of the tumor
  • After your surgery, to destroy any cancer that still remains and reduce the chances of the cancer coming back
  • Along with radiation therapy, which is known as chemoradiation or chemoradiotherapy

Our team includes doctors called medical oncologists who specialize in chemotherapy. Our patients have access to clinical trials that include testing new chemotherapy drugs and combinations of medications that aren’t widely available.

Keeping you comfortable while you undergo treatment is important to us. Our state-of-the-art clinics, many which have been recently renovated, offer heated seats and individual TVs to help you relax during treatment.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy – Radiation oncology uses radiation to control or destroy harmful cancer cells, with tools to treat each unique cancer.

Our board-certified cancer doctors and highly skilled clinical team deliver conventional radiotherapy treatments that include:

  • External beam radiation, which uses special technology to send X-ray radiation (photons) to the cancer cells from outside the body
  • Internal radiation (brachytherapy), which targets the tumor using safe levels of radiation inside the body through radioactive tubes or radioactive seeds
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which uses a 3D image of the damaged cells to deliver high-precision radiotherapy that fits its exact outline
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), which is used to localize the radiation beam daily and treat cancers in areas of the body that move during and between treatments. This includes cone beam CT scans to accurately view the cancer cells or affected lymph nodes and target them during treatment.
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which uses precise beams of radiation to focus high doses of radiation shaped just around the cancerous cells, with very little damage to surrounding healthy tissues

Biological/immunotherapy – This treatment involves the use of medicines that help a person’s own immune system find and destroy cancer cells. It can be used to treat some people with lymphoma.
Bone marrow transplant

Bone marrow transplant – During this treatment, the tissue inside your bones (bone marrow) is replaced with new, healthy marrow cells from a bone marrow donor.
Blood transfusions

Blood transfusions – Transfusions help replace cancerous cells with healthy blood cells and platelets. During a blood transfusion, you will receive donor blood, plasma, and platelets through an IV. As you receive the blood, your vital signs will be monitored.
Clinical trials

Clinical trials – Our lymphoma research and clinical trials give you access to new treatments, often before they become widely available. Participating in a trial may help improve your condition, even if standard approaches haven’t worked in the past. Find a clinical trial near you.

Lymphoma care at Geisinger

Your cancer journey is just that — yours. We understand how personal it is, which is why our cancer care team gets to know you along your journey. While some of our cancer specialists are trained in treating specific cancers, our entire team works together to help you fight your cancer.

Our specialists are dedicated to providing you with innovative treatments and personalized cancer care. We offer:

  • The knowledge you need – Your cancer team is powered by surgeons, doctors and specialists with years of training and experience. Their expertise has been honed by treating many people with lymphoma every year. And their focus is on delivering the care best suited to your needs.
  • Care from all sides – Cancer isn’t simple, so we put all our best minds to work on it. Your care team is multidisciplinary, which means it has many physicians from different specialties who come together to create a personalized treatment plan for you. That means you can see your care team in one location, all during the same visit.
  • Care designed for you, where you live – With locations throughout northeast, central and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced cancer team provides consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care, backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally recognized health system.
  • Comprehensive specialty care – From chemotherapy, radiation and minimally invasive surgery options to national clinical trials and genetic testing, our lymphoma specialists are dedicated to offering innovative treatment options and personalized care in convenient locations, so you don’t have to travel far. We’ll work with you to develop a personalized lymphoma care plan based on your individual needs.
  • Leading-edge clinical trials – Our cancer research and clinical trials give you access to new treatments before they become widely available. Participating in a trial may help you get better even if standard approaches haven’t worked. Find a clinical trial.
  • Genetic testing and counseling programs – Special research programs such as MyCode® are only available at Geisinger. Participating in MyCode allows you to contribute to genetic research. By participating, some may receive information about their own genetic risks. Learn about MyCode.
  • Cancer survivorship program – Just because your treatment is complete doesn’t mean your journey has ended. We offer a variety of support resources focused on helping you live your healthiest life. Learn about patient resources.


Content from General Links with modal content