Lymphoma: symptoms, diagnosis & treatment

Lymphomas are a group of disorders characterized by malignant proliferation of normal lymphatic tissue. There are 2 major histological types distinguished by the presence or absence of the Reed Sternberg (RS) cell.

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (RS cell present)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (RS cell absent).

 

Age is not an exemption, although incidence of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) generally increases with age and immunosuppression while Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL) shows a bimodal peak.

Lymphoma most often spreads to the lungs, liver, and brain

 

 

Symptoms 

Those affected may experience the following:

  • Lymph node swelling (often in the neck, armpit or groin)
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Itching 
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath 

 

 

 

Who is most at risk?

There are a certain group of people who are at greater risk:

  • You are 60 years or older for non-hopkins lymphoma 
  • Below 40 years of age for hopkins lymphoma 
  • Americans (NHL), Africans and Asians 
  • Family history
  • Infections that weakens the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, Epstein-Barr virus
  • People with autoimmune diseases
  • Exposure to chemicals (pesticides, herbicides)
  • Tobacco smokers

 

 

 

Diagnosis

To determine the extent and severity of disease, your physician may request:

  • Lymph node biopsy 
  • Blood test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Bone marrow aspiration and trephine biopsy

 

 

 

Treatment

Treatment varies depending on the type, it basically involves supportive based therapies, such as;

 

 For Hopkins lymphoma 

  • Chemotherapy – One of the most used cancer therapy aimed at reducing symptoms and prolonging life. It involves the use of two or more anticancer drugs.
  • Radiation therapy – Usually preferred than surgery. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy kills malignant cells, and prevents reccurence.
  • Immunotherapy, which uses your body’s immune system to attack cancer cells

 

 For non-Hopkins lymphoma 

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy; This therapy blocks the growth of cancer cells by interfering with certain molecules that aids tumor growth 

 

 

 

Prognosis 

Lymphoma that is identified and treated early have a relatively better prognosis that when it is identified in its late stages.

Survival of patients with lymphoma has increased during recent decades, but the prognosis is influenced by a series of factors, including the patients’ medical history, cancer type, stage and characteristics, as well as choice of treatment. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 93% of the patients diagnosed with regionally contained lymphoma survive for five years. More evolved diagnostic methods and the latest findings in the field continue to increase patient survival possibilities.

Patients will need to have a continual follow up with their doctor during treatment for close observation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source(s)

  • Wikipedia 》 Lymphoma [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lymphoma]
  • Morton Coleman [Editor] 》 Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma [2006]
  • Anas Younes & Bertrand Coiffier [Editors] 》 Lymphoma: Diagnosis and Treatment [2013]
  • WebMD 》Lymphoma {https://www.webmd.com/cancer/lymphoma/lymphoma-cancer}

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