Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects your body’s lymphatic system. If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you might have a lot of questions about the long-term prognosis.

Cancer researchers determine the survival rate of any type of cancer by analyzing cases to see how many people who receive a diagnosis are still alive 5 years later. The current survival rate for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 72 percent.

It’s important to remember that this percentage is just a ballpark range based on averages. Factors like your age, the type of treatment you receive, and the stage of your cancer when you were diagnosed all play a part in what your personal prognosis could be.

Let’s break down how each factor can influence your prognosis when you have non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Your age at the time you’re first diagnosed has a lot to do with how your body will respond to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Younger age groups tend to have the best outcomes, statistically. Here are the 5-year survival rates (from time of diagnosis) for a few different age groups:

There are several types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and survival rates will be different depending on which type you have. Here are a few of the main types:

  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although it’s an aggressive type of cancer, 64 percent of people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are still alive 5 years after their diagnosis.
  • Follicular lymphoma is also considered common and is a slow-growing form of lymphoma. People who receive a diagnosis of follicular lymphoma have an 89 percent survival rate at 5 years.
  • Marginal zone lymphoma is also a slow-growing lymphoma. According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, the average age at diagnosis is 60 years old. According to 2013 research, the 5-year survival rate for marginal zone lymphoma varies by subtype:
    • 88.7 percent for mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue
    • 79.7 percent for splenic marginal zone lymphoma
    • 76.5 percent for nodal marginal zone lymphoma

Often, the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances are of having a good treatment outcome.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed in an early stage is also called the localized stage. This is when the cancer is still limited to one lymph node or one organ outside the lymphatic system. In this stage, you have an 83.5 percent survival rate at 5 years.

If the cancer is discovered in the regional stage, this means it has spread to at least two lymph nodes, or it reaches from one lymph node to a nearby organ. The 5-year survival rate for the regional stage drops a bit to 75 percent.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that’s in the distant stage means that the cancer has spread to your lungs, liver, bone marrow, or to several lymph node areas. The distant stage has a 5-year survival rate of about 65 percent.

Some conditions and exposures can increase your chances of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These risk factors include:

If you’ve received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, preexisting conditions and harmful substances you’ve been exposed to can affect your individual survival outlook. A healthcare professional can help carefully evaluate your history and how these types of factors may affect your outlook.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you are not alone. There are many resources, such as survivor support groups, for people receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and their families and loves ones.

You can start by getting connected to a counselor or group setting where you can discuss the emotional and physical realities of living with this condition. Some blogs and websites provide insight into what it’s like to live with and take care of someone with lymphoma.

There are also helplines you can call when things feel dark and you need to connect with someone who understands what you’re going through.

Knowing what to expect and drawing strength from others’ experiences can help you navigate treatment and recovery.

The outlook for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma continues to improve, thanks to ongoing research and groundbreaking treatments. Survival rates are based on averages, so they do not take into account individual factors, such as your age and the type of cancer you have.

To get a picture of your specific outlook, you’ll need to speak with your oncologist about factors like your health history and how aggressive your type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is.