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Burkitt's lymphoma

Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is an uncommon form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It is a malignant con-dition (cancer) affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. This information is about BL in adults, unless otherwise stated.

The lymphatic system is a network of fine vessels, glands and channels which occur throughout the body. It also conveys nutrients and cells, and is responsible for draining fluid and waste products away from tissues, and into the blood stream to be processed. The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system and is made up of lymph nodes and vessels and of collections of lymphocytes in other tissues.

Burkitt lymphoma is a high-grade form of NHL, this means that it develops quickly and, if not treated, it grows quickly. It is named after a medical missionary called Denis Burkitt, who first described the disease in the 1950s. Males are more likely to develop BL. Burkitt lymphoma often occurs in places other than lymph nodes, such as lymphatic tissue in the gut and the bone marrow.

  • Published: Mar 2017
  • Next planned review: Mar 2019