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Lymphoma

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Lymphoma refers to cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma strikes in at least 30 different ways, creating 30 various forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a very specific type of lymphatic cancer. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is seven times more common than Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it is the cancer with the fastest rate of increase already having doubled in the number of annual diagnosis’s since 1970. However, along with its increase in victim rates, the rate of survival has increased as well due to researchers and devoted physicians.

LYMPHOMA SYMPTOMS

The only symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occur in after the disease has become a significant threat to health. As with all form of cancer, early detection is the key to survival. The symptoms associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include the swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpit, and painful lymph nodes in the neck, groin or armpit. As the disease progresses patients may notice symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, fever, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, night sweats, and feeling quickly drained after only mild activity.

Lymphoma
Image: Lymphoma

LYMPHOMA CAUSES

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is caused by white blood cells that begin to reproduce at an abnormal and uncontrollable rate. It is normal for a specific type of white blood cell know as lymphocytes to go through a normal life cycle. The body creates it, it lives in the body and performs its task, and then eventually it dies off and the body creates another cell just like it to replace it. The life cycle of these white blood cells in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is interrupted when the body does not wait until a sufficient number of lymphocytes die before replacing them. Instead, the body replaces more than have died, creating a surplus, which creates tumors and cancerous growths.

LYMPHOMA RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include, age, exposure to chemicals, infection, and a depressed immune system either through disease or through medicinal intention. Patients of any age can be afflicted with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but the majority of cases are seen when a patient has reached the age of 60 or beyond. Chemical exposure, especially those relating to insecticides and weed killers, has a direct link to the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Patients who have received an organ through transplantation are at an increased risk due to the chronic immune system depression required to maintain the organ.

LYMPHOMA DIAGNOSIS

The diagnostic procedure for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma begins with a physical examination. Upon the detection of painful or swollen lymph glands, additional testing is required. Blood and urine tests help rule out the possibility of infection, which is a legitimate reason for the swelling of lymph nodes. If no sign of infection is present, patients may experience tests such as imaging techniques (x-rays, MRIs) which can allow physicians to view the lymph nodes and detect tumors. A lymph node biopsy is done to determine whether the tumors present are cancerous or benign, and a bone marrow biopsy may be performed to determine whether the disease has spread.
Cancer
Image: Cancer

LYMPHOMA TREATMENT

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the rated to determine its severity, which is determined by a number of factors. Often the patient’s condition rating determines the course of treatment, if any, and allows physicians to understand how far the disease has progressed and how likely it is that the patient will survive.


Some cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are not immediately treated, if the tumors are growing slowly and the illness has not heavily affected the patient’s life. Some patients live with this type of cancer for a year or longer before treatment begins. Other treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radio immunotherapy, biologic therapy, as well as stem cell transplantation. The treatment options available for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma carry significant side effects and patients require extensive monitoring.

Patients fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma need to have a strong support system as well as maintain a healthy diet and remain an active part of life. Patient survival has increased in part due to physician’s approaches that require patients to remain active and healthy with strong hopes for the future and have limited their tolerance for those who lay in bed and wait for death..
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