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CNS Lymphoma

CNS Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of small organs called lymph nodes and vessels (similar to blood vessels) that carry a clear, watery fluid called lymph throughout the body. This fluid supplies cells called lymphocytes that fight disease and infection. To correctly diagnose primary CNS Lymphoma, staging must be done. Staging is the process of using CT scanning to examine many parts of the body. Staging helps to confirm where the cancer originated and how far it has spread.


  • Very aggressive
  • Usually involves multiple tumors throughout the central nervous system (CNS)
  • More common in people whose immune systems are compromised
  • Often develops in the brain, commonly in the areas adjacent to the ventricles
  • Can be primary (originating in the brain) or secondary
  • Most common among men and women in their 60s-80s, but incidence is increasing in young adults
  • More common in men than women
  • Accounts for about two percent of all brain tumors


  • Headaches
  • Partial paralysis on one side of the body
  • Seizures
  • Cognitive or speech disorders
  • Vision problems


Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and steroids are the most common forms of treatment. Surgery is rarely an option because there are usually multiple lesions. However, a biopsy at the start of steroid treatment can be critical to ensure the correct diagnosis.

Please speak with your health care provider for more information about your tumor type, biomarkers, and treatment options, including clinical trials.

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