What Is Lymphoma? Jeff Bridges Reveals He Has Cancer Affecting Immune System

Actor Jeff Bridges has revealed he has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the immune system.

The Big Lebowski star tweeted on Monday: "I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good."

Bridges, 70, said he was starting treatment, and would give updates on his recovery. The actor said he was "profoundly grateful" for the love and support of his family and friends, and thanked people for their prayers and well wishes.

As the Dude would say.. New S**T has come to light.

I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good.

I’m starting treatment and will keep you posted on my recovery.

— Jeff Bridges (@TheJeffBridges) October 20, 2020

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is an umbrella term for types of cancer that start in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is made up of organs and tissues that create white blood cells that flight off infections, and move them around the body. It is part of the immune system.

There are two main forms of the disease. It was not clear which form Bridges has.

Hodgkin lymphoma affects white blood cells known as lymphocytes. It spreads in what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes as an "orderly manner" between lymph nodes. It is one of the most treatable types of cancer. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma spreads in the lymphatic system in a "non-orderly manner."

There are over 60 forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. White people have a higher chance of having non-Hodgkin lymphoma than black people, according to the CDC.

Both diseases can affect people of any age, but the chance of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma increases as we get older. Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in those aged 15 to 39 years old, and those aged 75 or over. Men are more likely to have lymphoma than women.

Individuals with either form of the disease can experience swollen lymph nodes, particularly in areas where the cancer is developing. They may also feel tired, lose weight, suffer from a fever and have night sweats. As these symptoms are also related to other conditions, the CDC recommends speaking to a doctor if you experience them.

The chances of surviving for at least five years after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma is 72.7 percent, the National Cancer Institute states. An estimated 77,240 people will be diagnosed with the condition this year in the U.S. making up 4.3 percent of all new cancer cases.

For Hodgkin Lymphoma, the five-year survival rate is 87.4 percent. An estimated 8,480 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., amounting of 0.5 percent of all new cancer cases.

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Jeff Bridges pictured at Burbank Studios on December 13, 2019 in Burbank, California. The actor has been diagnosed with lymphoma. Noel Vasquez/Getty Images