Lymphoma is cancer that affects the immune system.
Lymphoma is the name given to blood cell tumors that develop from lymphocytes.
Types of lymphoma cancer:
There are 35-40 known types of lymphoma.
The two most common ones are Hodgkin’s lymphomas and non-Hodgkin lymphomas, multiple myeloma is also a type of lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma can be said to be cancer of the blood and bone marrow while non-Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer affecting the lymphatic system. This is not just one type of disease. Non- Hodgkin lymphoma consists of a diverse group of blood cancers sharing a single characteristic in their development.
It is important for the lymphoma to be categorized into different types because their behavior, spread and response to treatment are also different. The difference can be got through microscopy examination of the cancer cells.
Lymphoma Cancer Symptoms and Signs:
- The first sign that appears in cases of lymphoma is swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck, underarms or the groin.
- Enlargement of the spleen or other lymph nodes or body tissues may also occur.
- Other symptoms like pain, tingling or numbness may also develop as a result of the enlargement of the lymph nodes.
- Enlargement of the spleen causes abdominal pain and discomfort.
Other symptoms that may occur include :
Fevers, chills, loss of body mass, fatigue, pruritus, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, neuropathy, lymphedema, bone pain, migraine and seizures.
These symptoms are non-specific and are unique to each patient.
Diagnosis of Lymphoma:
Once the symptoms are presented, the doctor examines and performs an interview.
The interview is aimed to get the health history, the past or current medical problems, persistence of symptoms and any other relevant information.
If the health care provider suspects you may have lymphoma a series of tests will be done to provide clarification.
The tests to be done include:
Blood tests- This is done to evaluate general performance of blood cells and body organs. The concentration of Blood chemicals and enzymes like lactate dehydrogenase are also determined. A blood test is also important to determine lymphoma subtypes.
Biopsy- samples are taken from the lymph node swelling and examined by a pathologist.
Imaging Studies- There are different options for imaging studies available. X-rays, CT scan MRI scan and Positron-emission tomographic scans can be used to detect and visualize enlarged lymph nodes and other enlarged tissues in different parts of the body.
Bone Marrow Examination- A sample is taken and examined under a microscope. This is done by a pathologist and is able to detect abnormal lymphocytes in the bone marrow.
Treatment options for lymphoma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplant.
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