Oakwood Solicitors

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)?

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) are blood cancers that include all lymphomas APART from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Lymphomas develop from blood cells called Lymphocytes. They are white blood cells that form part of the lymphatic and immune systems.

The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels that are found all over the body and carry lymph which contains white blood cells.

In NHL, the lymphocytes start to proliferate atypically, which means that they gather in the lymph nodes and stop the lymphocytes from working properly. A patient, therefore, is more prone to infection as their immune system will be compromised.

What Is The Difference Between NHL And Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

They are both lymphomas, but it depends on the subtype of lymphocytes that are affected.

It is vital to be able to differentiate between the two as the treatment is very different. The easiest way to do this is to take a biopsy of the tumour and examine it under the microscope for the presence of Red Sternberg cells, which indicates Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

  • NHL can be characterised into high and low grade. High grade is aggressive and grows quickly whereas low grade is slow.
  • It occurs mostly in people over the age of 65.
  • 13,000 people are diagnosed each year, with around 5000 deaths per year.



What Are The Symptoms?

The main symptom of NHL is the presence of a swollen lymph node or lump which appears in the neck, armpit or groin. Other symptoms include:

  • Night sweats.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Itching.
  • Adnominal pain or indigestion.
  • Fatigue.
  • Bleeding – longer periods or nose bleeds.


The lymphocytes start mutating due to changes in the DNA of the cells and it causes the cells to start to multiply. There is no understanding why this happens, but there are a number of factors:

  • Weakened immune system – Such as HIV, medication due to organ transplants.
  • Autoimmune disease.
  • Epstein Barr virus or Human T Cell Lymphotropic virus.
  • Helicobacter pylori – affects the lining of the stomach.
  • Previous cancer.
  • Coeliac disease.

NHL is not believed to be genetic, is more common in men than woman, and is difficult to prevent apart from trying to avoid contraction of HIV or Helicobacter Pylori.


If there is a suspicion that you may have a lump, the first port of call is to visit the GP. You will then be referred to have a biopsy of the lump. This referral should be on an urgent two-week wait basis.

Once it has been confirmed that the cells are cancerous, it will then be decided what kind of lymphoma that you have.

There are over 30 kinds of NHL and each has its own plan and treatment. Your health care provider will advise what they consider the best treatment plan to be. Further tests will then be carried out to determine the stage of the cancer and the best treatment plan.  Such tests include:

  • X-Ray.
  • MRI scans.
  • PET scans.
  • CT scans.

The cancer will be staged depending on how far it has spread.


  • Treatment will depend on the patient and also the kind of NHL.
  • If the cancer is contained then it may be able to be removed.
  • If the cancer has spread, a more detailed plan will be needed.
  • If the cancer is low grade, then no treatment may be indicated as extensive treatment may be worse and unnecessary.

Chemotherapy is the main treatment and will be given via a drip. If the lymphoma is too progressive then tablets may be given to aid the symptoms but they may or may not assist with any recovery. Chemotherapy can cause a number of side effects, such as hair loss, weight loss, tiredness and vomiting.

Radiotherapy can also be used in the early stages of the disease and is given daily for a period of time.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is also a newer treatment that can be used. The treatment works by attaching itself to the cancerous cells and makes the body attack and kill them. An example of this is Rituximab which has less side effects and is given quicker.

CICA Solicitor


How Do I Make A Claim?

Claims involving Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma usually involve a severe delay in diagnosis and therefore a delay in providing appropriate treatment. This can have a devastating effect on the patient. It goes without saying that earlier diagnosis will result in a better outcome.

If you feel that a medical professional has misdiagnosed your cancer or that you have been affected by decisions made or delays incurred, you could be entitled to compensation. The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

Who Can Bring About A Claim?

The patient affected can, of course, bring about a claim. However, it can often be the case that the patient has sadly passed away. In such circumstances, the executor of the estate and/or serving dependants may be able to bring about a claim. The law surrounding this area is complex, so if you have any questions our specialist team will be able to assist.

How Long Will My Case Take To Run?

Clinical Negligence cases can take over eighteen months to run, as we have to obtain copies of your GP and medical records before obtaining a report from an independent medical professional. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – An award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Special damages – An award of money for all of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future.

This list is not exhaustive and is very case specific. For cases involving deceased patients, such things as funeral costs and the costs of sorting the estate may be recoverable.

Why use Oakwood Solicitors?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon or medical terms they don’t understand, and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.



How Is My Case Funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay up front and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost.

If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Charities/Useful Websites:


Cancer Research UK

Lymphoma Action


If your Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnosis has been delayed or misdiagnosed, get in touch today for a free initial consultation in complete confidence. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Carol Cook

Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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