Lymphoma is another word for lymph node cancer, which is responsible for approximately 5% of all cancers. As with any cancer, if a physician can diagnose it in the early stages, the success rate is higher, and the treatment is often shorter.
Still unknown for what causes lymphoma; however, studies connect it to the Epstein-Barr virus and medications. People with HIV are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer. And so are those who are exposed to herbicides and pesticides.
Statistics show that more men are diagnosed with this type of cancer than women, but it is not currently clear why. The groups that are most at risk of acquiring lymphoma are people who are between the ages of 15 and 34. After that, the risk is low until the age of 54 years old.
Awareness of The Symptoms
Swollen lymph nodes are one of the first signs of lymphoma. The lumps will be hard, solid, and continue to grow. Though cancer is the first thing that comes to mind when swelling occurs, it often is just a symptom of a common infection. Swollen nodes are most commonly noticed in:
Other areas that lymph nodes can be found are along the torso, thighs, chest, and deep in the body. In addition to swollen nodes, the following can be signs of lymph node cancer:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Intermittent fever and chills
- Night sweats not related to hormone changes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Respiratory problems
- Enlarged liver or spleen
When there are symptoms of this cancer, a physician will take a medical history, note symptoms, and then do tests to diagnose. The analyses include node biopsy, scans, and blood tests. These tests will result in one of two types of lymph node cancer being diagnosed.
Understand More About – Lymphoma Symptoms
These are the two types of lymph node cancers, and both of them have similar symptoms. One is more common and can run in families:
- Hodgkin’s Disease is one form of lymph node cancer that almost everyone has heard of even though it is a rare form of lymph node cancer. Some of its symptoms include night sweats, unexplained weight loss, constant fatigue, and unexplained fever.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the second type of lymph node cancer, which is the most common lymphoma. The symptoms are the same as the symptoms of Hodgkin’s disease. A family history of this type of cancer puts a person at a higher risk of developing it regardless of their gender.
When lymphoma Is Diagnosed
A positive biopsy means a lymphoma diagnosis. After receiving a diagnosis, an individual is then referred to an oncologist where more specific tests are done that will help an individual obtain a particular treatment.
An oncologist, or cancer specialist , will run tests to determine which lymphoma the individual has. There are over 30 related lymphomas and which cancer an individual has will affect their treatment. A bone marrow test, gallium scan, and blood test will be done to determine which lymphoma it is, while X-rays and CT scans are required to determine how far cancer has spread.
Lymphoma is an overwhelming diagnosis, and the tests an individual must go through to come to this diagnosis are exhausting. Understanding what this diagnosis involves and what happens after a lymphoma diagnosis can help an individual and their family face the treatment that follows.
Lymphoma treatment depends on various factors, including the type of lymphoma, the patient’s general health, the patient’s age, the affected body part, as well as the stage of lymphoma tumors. Your doctor should offer advice on the next course of action after carrying out thorough tests. Some of the treatment options your doctor could recommend:
Treatment for lymphoma includes radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. According to the International Prognostic Score, the five-year FFP and OS were 78 and 90%, respectively. An early diagnosis results in a better chance to cure or control the disease, which results in the cancer survivor going on to live a healthy normal life.
This is the treatment of choice for many cancers, including lymphoma. Doctors administer chemotherapy intravenously or prescribe oral tablets. The aim is to get the administered drugs into the bloodstream where they kill lymphoma cells. However, chemotherapy has adverse side effects such as hair loss, nausea, tiredness, constipation, risk of developing blood clots, and mouth sores. People receiving chemotherapy treatment may also become anemic. A blood transfusion may be necessary to deal with this complication.
This involves the use of high-energy rays, directed at specific body parts, to destroy cancer cells without harming neighboring healthy cells. Although it may sound simple, it usually requires careful planning and execution. Specialists in radiotherapy, including oncologists and radiographers, typically are preparing patients by positioning them in comfortable positions. The delivery of high energy rays usually takes a few minutes and is painless. The potential side effects of this procedure include tiredness, hair loss, nausea, and fatigue.
- Monoclonal antibody therapy
This mimics the body’s immune system to target and destroys lymphocytes. Doctors typically administer this therapy via an intravenous drip. Unlike the other treatments described above, monoclonal antibody therapy is widely used to treat NHL (General Information About Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – cancer.gov ). This treatment option makes use of certain drugs, including rituximab, ibritumomab tiuxetan, and tositumomab.
- Stem cell transplants
If the treatments described above fail, doctors might decide to carry out stem cell transplants, using either the patient’s stem cells or a donor’s stem cells. In the former case, your doctor will remove, freeze, and store your stem cells until you have had chemotherapy to put lymphoma into remission. After this, the doctor will administer the same stem cells via a drip to help your body’s bone marrow start making new blood cells. Since this procedure carries significant health risks, patients spend considerable time in hospital.
- Steroid therapy
Doctors usually use steroid therapy together with chemotherapy. Steroids inherently counter the side effects of chemotherapy. One side effect of steroid therapy is increased appetite, which many medical experts see as a desirable outcome. However, steroids may also boost a patient’s energy levels, leading to restlessness.
There are many forms of innovative treatments available, thanks to the fact that the medical community has gained a greater understanding of this form of cancer. Many procedures that use to be experimental have found their way into mainstream treatment.
A lymphoma diagnosis combined with a fighting spirit that doesn’t accept defeat will be what it takes to be among the many survivors of lymph node (lymphoma) cancer.