What is stage 4 lymphoma?

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Stage 4 means the lymphoma has spread widely into at least one organ outside the lymph system, such as the bone marrow, liver, or lung.

The staging of non-hodgkin lymphoma is:

Stage I

Either of the following means the disease is stage I:

  • The lymphoma is in only 1 lymph node area or lymphoid organ such as the tonsils (I).
  • The cancer is found only in 1 area of a single organ outside of the lymph system (IE).

Stage II

Either of the following means the disease is stage II:

  • The lymphoma is in 2 or more groups of lymph nodes on the same side of (above or below) the diaphragm (the thin band of muscle that separates the chest and abdomen). For example, this might include nodes in the underarm and neck area (II) but not the combination of underarm and groin nodes (III).
  • The lymphoma is in a group of lymph node(s) and in one area of a nearby organ (IIE). It may also affect other groups of lymph nodes on the same side of the diaphragm.

Stage III

Either of the following means the disease is stage III:

  • The lymphoma is in lymph node areas on both sides of (above and below) the diaphragm.
  • The lymphoma is in lymph nodes above the diaphragm, as well as in the spleen.

Stage IV

The lymphoma has spread widely into at least one organ outside the lymph system, such as the bone marrow, liver, or lung.

Bulky disease

This term is often used to describe large tumors in the chest. It is especially important for stage II lymphomas, as bulky disease might need more intensive treatment.

What happens in stage four lymphoma?
Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma affects the lymph nodes below and above the diaphragm, and cancer cells are present in the bone, liver, lung or other regions of the body. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma at stage 4 spreads to organs beyond the lymph nodes and sometimes to more lymph node locations.
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