“Multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are both blood cancers. They are differentiated by the type of cells the cancer develops in.”

Multiple myeloma forms in white blood cells called plasma cells, typically in your bone marrow.

Lymphoma also develops in cells that become blood cells. But lymphoma cells are typically found in your lymph nodes or other parts of your lymph system.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma makes up about 90% of lymphomas. It’s differentiated from the other primary category, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, based on the appearance of cells under a microscope.

There are about 60 different types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some are very aggressive and require intense treatment, while others are slow growing and may never need treatment.

“We take a closer look at the similarities and differences between multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

How do multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma compare?

“Here is a brief look at how multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma compare. The United States is referred to in all statistics.”

Myeloma Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Cells involved plasma cells lymphocytes, a group of white blood cells that include plasma cells
Estimated cases in 2022 34,470 new cases 80,470 new cases
Lifetime risk 1 in 132 1 in 52 for men and 1 in 42 for women
Median age of diagnosis 65 years 67 years
Affects children? extremely rare about 800 children per year
5-year relative survival 56% 73%


What are the causes and risk factors for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

“Researchers don’t know what causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They develop when certain blood cells are damaged.”

A combination of environmental and genetic factors likely plays a role in the development of these cancers. Here are some of the risk factors researchers have identified for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma:

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma Myeloma
male sex male sex
more likely in white Americans than in African Americans or Asian Americans African American ethnicity
possibly having overweight having obesity
family history family history
increasing age increasing age
radiation exposure radiation exposure
exposure to chemicals such as benzene and some herbicides exposure to chemicals such as benzene and some herbicides
immunosuppression having another plasma cell disease such as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or solitary plasmacytoma
autoimmune disease
some infections such as human T-cell lymphotropic virus or HIV
breast implants


Does having one of these cancers increase the risk of developing a second cancer?

“People with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are more likely to develop a second cancer. They can develop any type of cancer.”

However, the American Cancer Society doesn’t list myeloma as one of the most common second cancers in people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Changes to the bone marrow can be caused by Chemotherapy treatment.

The secondary cancers most common in people with myeloma are acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.


What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are often nonspecific. They can include:

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma Myeloma
weakness weakness
loss of appetite loss of appetite
shortness of breath shortness of breath
severe or frequent infections severe or frequent infections
easily bruising or bleeding easily bruising or bleeding
unintentional weight loss unintentional weight loss
dizziness dizziness
enlarged lymph nodes bone weakness
chills bone fractures
fatigue bone pain
swollen belly extreme thirst
chest pain frequent urination
drenching night sweats kidney problems
fever constipation
abdominal pain



How are multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed?

“Doctors start the process of determining if you have multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by looking at your medical history, family history, and symptoms.”

They also perform a physical exam to screen for potential symptoms of blood cancer. For example, most people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma visit a doctor after they develop a persistent lump.

A doctor will likely recommend more specific tests after your initial screening.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

A lymph node biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This involves taking part or all of a lymph node, so its cells can be analyzed in a lab. A bone marrow biopsy may also be done.

Imaging tests are used to:

  • Determine the extent of the cancer.
  • If treatment is working, watch it.
  • Look for signs of the cancer returning after treatment.

The tests may include:

A doctor can order supportive blood tests to help determine your health and how advanced your cancer is. They might order.

Multiple myeloma

If your symptoms are suggestive of myeloma, a doctor might recommend a blood chemistry test.

  • “Testing for high levels of creatinine can indicate that your kidneys aren’t working well.”
  • Testing for low albumin levels.
  • Testing for high calcium levels.
  • testing for high LDH levels, which are associated with a poorer outlook
  • Blood testing to measure levels of antibodies.
  • Light chain testing without a serum.
  • SPEP testing is done on the serum.
  • beta-2 microglobulin testing to look for a protein created by myeloma cells

A doctor may recommend a urine test to look for a disease.

They may also recommend analyzing a section of your bone marrow with a procedure called bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, in which a long needle is used to take a small bone marrow sample for lab analysis.

A variety of tests are used to help monitor treatment and see how far the cancer has spread.

How are multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treated?

Myeloma and lymphoma are treated differently. Here is a look at the treatment options.

Multiple myeloma

Treatment for myeloma often involves a combination of 2 or 3 drugs. The specific drugs depend on your health and whether you’re eligible for a stem cell transplant. A common combination is:

  • Bortezomib is a type of drug.
  • lenalidomide
  • dexamethasone is used for treatment of diseases.

“Doctors will recommend a different combination if treatment doesn’t work or the cancer comes back.”

Treatment for bone disease often includes bisphosphonates with chemotherapy, sometimes with radiation therapy. Some people may be eligible for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy after other treatments fail, although it can cause serious side effects.

Supportive treatments might include:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Blood donations.
  • IgE in the form ofglobulin

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

If the cancer develops slowly and you don\’t have any serious symptoms, you may be given treatment that is “watchful waiting”

“Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is usually treated with Chemotherapy. Steroids and chemotherapy can make it more effective. Chemotherapy may be combined with other therapies.”

“Monoclonal antibodies are used to treat some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The medications signal to your immune system to fight cancer.”


What’s the outlook for people with multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

The survival rate is a measure of how long people with cancer will live.

Multiple myeloma

The outlook for people with myeloma is best when the cancer is caught early. Here’s a look at the relative 5-year survival rate:

Stage Survival rate
Localized 78%
Distant 55%
All stages combined 56%

Factors generally linked to better survival include:

  • The earlier stage.
  • Younger age.
  • Good overall health.
  • Good function of the kidneys.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

The outlook for people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma depends on the subtype. The overall 5-year relative survival rate is 73%.

Here is a look at the survival rates by stage for the two most common subtypes.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma Survival rate
Localized 74%
Regional 73%
Distant 57%
All stages combined 64%
Follicular lymphoma Survival rate
Localized 97%
Regional 91%
Distant 86%
All stages combined 90%

“Factors that can be linked to a good outlook for people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are listed below.”

  • Age 60 and below.
  • Early stage cancer.
  • No lymphoma outside the house.
  • able to do daily activities
  • normal LDH



Frequently asked questions about multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

“People ask a lot of questions about non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Can you have multiple myeloma and lymphoma at the same time?

Although rare, some case studies in medical journals report people who have had myeloma and lymphoma at the same time.

Does multiple myeloma affect the lymph nodes?

Myeloma that starts in a lymph node is extremely rare, with only about 40 cases reported in the medical literature. However, about 20% of people with relapsed myeloma have cancer spread outside the bone marrow. Lymph nodes are one of the most common places relapsed myeloma spreads to.

Which is worse, multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

“People with some types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may have a poorer outlook.”

Does multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma run in families?

Family history is a risk factor for both myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Most people with myeloma don’t have a family history.



“Multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are two types of blood cancer. Inflammation in the white blood cell causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Myeloma is caused by a specific type oflymphocyte.”

It is impossible to know if you have a disease without a proper diagnosis. You can begin the process by going to a doctor.