Follicular lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. Follicular lymphomas originate in B lymphocytes (B cells) in lymph nodes. Follicular lymphoma is the most common indolent type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Follicular lymphomas are typically slow-progressing (indolent). Follicular lymphoma is uncommon in younger people, and is most common in people over the age of 60 years.
Follicular lymphomas typically present with painless swelling of lymph nodes but may cause one or more of the following:
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
The exact underlying cause or causes of follicular lymphoma are unknown. Potential risk factors are not always evident, but may include genetic predisposition, exposure to certain chemicals, having certain viral and bacterial infections, immunosuppression, or having an organ transplant. Treatment plans typically depend on the stage and presenting symptoms. If significant anemia or lowering of the platelet count is found that usually reflects bone marrow involvement and is an indication to proceed with treatment. If there are no obvious or very few symptoms, doctors will often encourage active surveillance.
Treatment options for follicular lymphoma may include one or more of the following:
- Active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Stem cell transplant