Lymphoma is a type of cancer, which invades the lymphatic system, which is an infection-fighting barrier of the body. Lymphoma symptoms are rather similar to signs of a viral infection or a cold, which causes delays in diagnosing. Lymphoma treatment requires a collaborative work of several specialists and usually involves chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and allogeneic transplant of stem cells. Below we are going to review this condition, its symptoms, types of lymphoma, as well as its diagnostic services and lymphoma treatment in more detail.
Lymphocyte is a special type of white blood cell that is important for your body’s resistance to diseases. In attempt to build immunity, these cells get exposed to various substances within the body. Lymphocytes can be found in lymph nodes where they collect and filter substances. They may also group together in the tonsils, spleen and thymus.
WHERE ARE LYMPH NODES FOUND?
Lymph nodes can be found anywhere in the body, particularly in the neck, armpits, groin, above the heart, and around the big blood vessels inside the abdomen.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that can develop in the lymphocytes in any of the areas mentioned above.
HOW MANY TYPES OF LYMPHOMA ARE THERE?
The two main types of this condition include:
- Non-Hodgkin: Most people have this type of lymphoma cancer.
- Hodgkin: This type affects a different kind of lymphocyte than Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Different types of this kind of cancer grow at different rate and respond to treatments differently.
CAN LYMPHOMA BE CURED?
Fortunately, this condition is very treatable even though it is a cancer. There has been many cases where patients have been cured.
You may have this condition if you notice these warning signs:
- Swollen lymph nodes (often in the neck, armpit or groin)
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Pain in stomach
- Weight loss
These signs and symptoms may be mistaken for simple illnesses such as viral infections and the common cold since they have very similar symptoms. This may cause problems with delayed diagnosis.
The main difference is that these symptoms of lymphoma continue long after the usual run of a viral infection.
LYMPHOMA TREATMENT OPTIONS
This may be needed to treat patients having this type of cancer. The chemotherapy drugs can either be injected into the veins of your hand or swallowed as pills. Every course of treatment is given at the regulated intervals to destroy cancer cells and give time for the body to recover.
High-energy rays are used in radiation therapy (localized treatment) to kill malignant cells where the rays are directed. The area of treatment may cover the lymph nodes or organs affected by lymphoma. Sometimes, a wider area encompassing the lymph nodes in the neck, chest and under both armpits may be treated. This treatment may be given alone or combined with chemotherapy.
Cancer cells are attacked by your body’s immune system in this type of therapy.
Stem cell transplant
Stem cell transplant may be used if the treatments above aren’t effective. You will receive high doses of chemotherapy before the transplant. This treatment kills cancer cells but also destroys stem cells in your bone marrow that produces new blood cells. A transplant of stem cells will replace the ones that were destroyed after chemotherapy.
Two types of stem cell transplants can be done:
- Autologous transplant: Uses your own stem cells
- Allogeneic transplant: Uses stem cells from a donor
- History taking & physical examination: The doctor will ask you a series of questions to rule out other explanations for the symptoms. A physical examination involving the doctor palpating areas of your body to check for swollen lymph nodes as well as your abdomen area to check your spleen and liver. Your doctor will also look out for signs of infection near lymph nodes during the physical examinations.
- Blood test: The results show the number of certain cells in your blood.
- Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy: A needle is used to remove fluid or tissue from your bone marrow to check for lymphoma cells.
- Chest X-ray: Images of the inside of your chest are taken using low doses of radiation.
- MRI: Images of your organs and structures inside of your body are made using powerful magnets and radio waves.
- PET scan: Cancer cells in your body are detected using radioactive substance.
- Molecular test: This helps doctors to figure out what type of lymphoma cancer you have based on the changes to your genes, proteins and other substances in your cancer cells.