Causes, Symptoms, Treatment for Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s disease, the most common lymphoma, has special characteristics that distinguish it from the others. Often it is identified by the presence of a unique cell, called the Reed-Sternberg cell, in lymphatic tissue that has been surgically removed for biopsy.

Lymphoma is a form of Cancer that can affect the various sections of the lymphatic system however it is commonly the lymphocyte cells and the lymph glands that are the primary sites of Cancerous growth. The lymphatic system includes a network of thin tubes that branch, like blood vessels, into tissues throughout the body. Lymphatic vessels carry lymph, a colorless watery fluid that contains infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. Along this network of vessels are groups of small, bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarms, groin, neck, chest, and abdomen.
Other parts of the lymphatic system are the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and bone marrow. Lymphatic tissue also is found in other parts of the body, including the stomach, intestines, and skin.The cause of most Lymphomas is not known. Most are probably caused by mutations in certain genes, called oncogenes, which then allow normal cells to divide out of control.

Symptoms

Physicians often observe swollen lymph nodes during this time to see if they change in size following antibiotic treatment. There are a number of common signs and symptoms that are associated with Lymphoma however it must be pointed out that these symptoms can also be caused by numerous, less severe conditions and so anyone suffering with any of the following symptoms should not self-diagnose Lymphoma. If HD or NHL involves lymphatic tissue within the abdomen the belly may become swollen, and even resemble pregnancy in some female patients.

Treatment

Treatment for lymphoma depends on the type and stage. Factors such as age, overall health, and whether one has already been treated for lymphoma before are included in the treatment decision-making process.

Fortunately, many advances have been made in the treatment of both Hodgkin’s disease (HD) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in recent years. Over 75% of newly diagnosed HD patients are cured by the latest methods of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and the survival statistics for NHL patients are improving. The decision of which treatment to pursue is made with the doctor (with input from other members of the care team) and family members, but the decision is ultimately the patient’s.



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