A Snapshot of Lymphoma

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Incidence and Mortality

Lymphoma, including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), is the most common blood cancer in the United States and is estimated to represent approximately 5 percent of all new cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Nearly 71,000 new cases of NHL and nearly 9,200 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are estimated for 2014.

Because of improvements in treatment, the mortality rate for Hodgkin lymphoma has decreased by nearly 70 percent since 1975, even though the incidence rate has remained relatively steady over the same period. Incidence rates for Hodgkin lymphoma are highest for whites and African Americans; mortality rates are highest for whites, Hispanics, and African Americans.

NHL incidence has been increasing since 1975, although the rate of increase has slowed in the past two decades. NHL mortality has declined since 1997. Incidence and mortality for NHL are higher for whites than for African Americans or other racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

Risk factors for both Hodgkin lymphoma and NHL include being male, having a weakened immune system, or being infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Epstein-Barr virus. Infection with Helicobacter pylori or human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 (HTLV-1) increases the risk for certain types of NHL. The risk of NHL increases with age, whereas the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma is higher in both early adulthood and later life. Standard treatments for both types of lymphoma are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant. Additional standard therapies include surgery for Hodgkin lymphoma and targeted therapy, plasmapheresis, watchful waiting and biological therapy for NHL.

Assuming that incidence and survival rates follow recent trends, it is estimated that $13.4 billion1 will be spent on lymphoma care in the United States in 2014.

Line graphs showing U.S. Hodgkin and Non-Hodkin Lymphoma Incidence and Mortality per 100,000 for whites and African Americans. In 2011 for Hodgkin lymphoma, whites and African Americans have the same incidence and whites have higher mortality than African Americans.  In 2011 for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, whites have a higher incidence and mortality than African Americans.

Source: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and the National Center for Health Statistics. Additional statistics and charts are available at the SEER Web site.

NCI’s Investment in Lymphoma Research

To learn more about the research NCI conducts and supports in lymphoma, visit the NCI Funded Research Portfolio (NFRP). The NFRP includes information about research grants, contract awards, and intramural research projects funded by NCI. When exploring this information, it should be noted that approximately half of the NCI budget supports basic research that may not be specific to one type of cancer. By its nature, basic research cuts across many disease areas, contributing to our knowledge of the underlying biology of cancer and enabling the research community to make advances against many cancer types. For these reasons, the funding levels reported in NFRP may not definitively report all research relevant to a given category.

Pie chart of NCI Lymphoma Research Portfolio.  Percentage of total dollars by scientific area.  Fiscal year 2013.  Biology, 21%.  Etiology/causes of cancer, 19%.  Prevention, 3%.  Early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis, 9%.  Treatment, 35%.  Cancer control, survivorship, and outcomes research, 7%.  Scientific model systems, 6%.

Source: NCI Funded Research Portfolio. Only projects with assigned common scientific outline area codes are included. A description of relevant research projects can be found on the NCI Funded Research Portfolio Web site.

Other NCI programs and activities relevant to lymphoma include:

Selected Advances in Lymphoma Research

Additional Resources for Lymphoma

  • Posted: November 5, 2014