Lymphoma is Treatable if Detected Early

November 8, 2019
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the reticuloendothelial and lympathic systems. The primary types of lymphoma are Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkin lympthoma. Lymphoma can be successfully treated if detected early.

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the white cells of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s defense mechanisms. The lymphatic system is a complex structure composed of small channels, nodes, bone marrow, and organs. All of them are made up of lymphocytes.

Patients with this disease cannot control the activity of lymphocytes. Thus, they begin to grow abnormally and disproportionately. It mainly manifests itself in the form of tumor mass near the lymph nodes, such as the armpits, neck, and abdomen.

Although, as with all cancers, its development is complex and aggressive, early detection is the main key for successful treatment. 

Main types of lymphoma

According to the MSD Manual, there are two types of lymphoma:

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (tends to be more common).
    • Burkitt lymphoma.
    • Mycosis fungoides.

The first, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, includes the presence of cells called Reed-Sternberg cells. These cause the main symptom: inflammation of the lymph node.

The other, non-Hodgkin’s type, includes a large and diverse group of cancer of the cells of the immune system. This makes it more aggressive and difficult to treat. This cancer can spread with ease and cause the gradual appearance of cancer in other organs.

A close up of cancer cells.

Their behavior, growth, and treatment vary from person to person depending on lymphatic and immune system function.

Although several factors mark its development, experts have not been able to determine exactly what causes this variety.

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What are the main symptoms of lymphoma?

Although the symptoms of lymphoma may vary in each patient according to the type and severity, symptoms generally include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin.
  • Pain in the abdomen, chest, and bones.
  • Excessive and unexplained weight loss.
  • Decrease or loss of appetite.
  • Constantly feeling full.
  • The sudden appearance of lumps.
  • Continuous fevers.
  • Swelling of the abdomen.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Night sweats.
  • Itching.
  • Chills.
  • Weakness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Coughing.

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What are the risk factors for lymphoma?

  • Immune system deficiencies, including a history of transplantation, patients with HIV or autoimmune diseases.
  • Infection: a history of HIV, the Epstein-Barr virus, or Helicobacter pylori, among others.
  • Chemical exposure: being or having been exposed to chemicals such as herbicides and insecticides.
  • Exposure to radiation.
  • Age: being over 60 years of age.
  • Skin color: being white-skinned.

Early detection is key

The experts at the National Institute of Cancer indicate that Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is often curable. The outlook for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, on the other hand, depends on the specific type.

First of all, aggressive lymphoma sub-type is the most common. However, it’s proven that early diagnosis considerably increases the chances of successful treatment. The less aggressive subtype can allow patients to live up to 15 years with the disease.

Treatment of lymphoma

 

After detecting lymphoma, doctors start immediate and intensive treatment. The standard treatment of the disease in its more aggressive state consists of courses of chemotherapy and biological therapy.

Treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma consists of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, or some combination of the three.

Also, to treat lymphoma, radiation therapy may be effective for patients in stages I and II. This depends on the activity of the malignant cells.