Lymphoma - Non-Hodgkin: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many people are diagnosed with NHL?

NHL is the seventh most common cancer in men and the sixth most common cancer in women. The disease accounts for 4% of all cancers in the United States.

In 2023, an estimated 80,550 people (44,880 men and 35,670 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with NHL. After decades of increasing, the number of people diagnosed with the disease began dropping. Since 2015, incidence rates of NHL have decreased by 1% each year. The disease can be diagnosed at any age, including in children, teens, and young adults. However, NHL risk increases with age. Over half of patients are 65 or older when they are diagnosed. Worldwide, an estimated 544,352 people were diagnosed with NHL in 2020.

It is estimated that 20,180 deaths (11,780 men and 8,400 women) from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023. It is the ninth most common cause of cancer death among both men and women. The survival rate has been improving since 1997, thanks to treatment advances. From 2011 to 2020, the death rate dropped by 2% every year. In 2020, an estimated 259,793 people worldwide died from NHL.

What is the survival rate for NHL?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from NHL. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with NHL are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with NHL are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 5-year survival rate for NHL in the United States is 74%.

The survival rates for NHL vary based on several factors. These include the stage and subtype of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.

For stage I NHL, the 5-year relative survival rate is more than 86%. For stage II the 5-year relative survival rate is 78%, and for stage III it is more than 72%. For stage IV NHL, the 5-year relative survival rate is almost 64%.

The survival rates for NHL on this page are based on people diagnosed between 2012 and 2018. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every several years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how NHL is diagnosed or treated in recent years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, the ACS website, the International Agency for Research on Cancer website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed February 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers a drawing of the parts of the lymphatic system. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.