NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia, Version 1.2017
The lymphatic system
Part 1 talks about Waldenström’s
macroglobulinemia (WM), which is a type
of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is a rare
type of lymphoma. Lymphoma is a type
of cancer that starts in the cells of the
immune system. It can start anywhere in
the body. It is helpful to learn about the
lymphatic system and what can be done
to treat cancer that starts here.
The lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is a part of your immune
system. Your immune system defends the body
against infection and disease. An infection is caused
by germs like bacteria, viruses, or fungi that enter the
body and grow out of control. Disease is a medical
condition like cancer. Cancer can also grow and
spread in your body (metastasize).
The lymphatic system can be found throughout your
body. It is made up of lymph, lymph vessels, and
is clear fluid that contains disease-
fighting white blood cells.
are tube-shaped ducts that
carry lymph throughout the body.
Lymph nodes are groups of small round
structures throughout the body.
The spleen is an organ that is to the left of
the stomach, tucked under the rib cage.
The thymus is a gland of the immune
system that is located behind the top of the
Bone marrow is soft, sponge-like tissue
found in the center of most bones, where
blood cells are formed.
Other sites of lymphatic tissue are in the
system that breaks down food (digestive
system) and in the breathing system
Fluids and plasma leak out of your blood vessels and
move around the tissues in your body. Cells release
waste and other products into this tissue fluid as well.
When tissue fluid increases, it drains into vessels.
Some of the tissue fluid drains back into blood
vessels. The rest of it drains into lymph vessels.
The fluid inside the lymph vessels is called lymph.
The lymph fluid contains white blood cells that
fight disease. It also contains plasma, which is the
yellowish liquid part of blood that carries blood cells.
Lymph travels in lymph vessels, through the lymph
nodes to the neck area, to the heart, and back to the
As lymph travels, it is filtered by your lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes are a small group of disease-fighting
cells. These disease fighting cells make up masses
of lymphoid tissue, which form lymph nodes. Lymph
nodes are near the lymph vessels throughout your
body. The lymph nodes can be found in the middle
of your chest, neck, armpit, groin, pelvis, and along