What Is Lymphoma ?

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells that are part of the body's immune system. Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer in which the white blood cells called lymphocytes grow uncontrollably. Lymphocytes are an essential part of the immune system and traverse throughout the body to ward off infections. The lymphatic system carries fluid called lymph and circulates it all over the body, similar to the circulation of blood. This fluid passes through the lymph nodes which are present throughout the body.

Types Of Lymphoma

There are majorly two kinds of lymphoma: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: 95% of lymphoma cases are non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hodgkin Lymphoma: This is a kind of cancer of the immune system and is detected by the presence of unusually huge B lymphocytes also called Reed-Sternberg cells. In this kind the cancer spreads from one lymph node to the one beside it.

Risk Factors For Lymphoma

Hodgkin Lymphoma risk factors include:

  • Age: Young adults and those above 55 years are more susceptible to lymphoma.
  • Gender: Male are more prone to this cancer
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection increases the risk of lymphoma.
  • Family history: Having a family member, especially a sibling with this cancer greatly increases the risk of developing it as well.
  • HIV infection

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk Factors Include:

  • Gender: Male are more prone to this cancer.
  • This kind of cancer is usually seen either in elderly people, older than 60 yrs. or in children and young adults.
  • Immunodeficiency: People with a weaker immune system are more susceptible to this.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Infections: Certain bacteria or viruses can affect the lymphocytes and increase the risk of cancer.
  • Chemical Exposure: Being exposed to radiations and agricultural chemicals could increase the risk of lymphoma.

Few Signs And Symptoms Of Lymphoma May Include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (neck or armpit or groin area).
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath.
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of weight
  • Itching
  • Weakness

How to Diagnose Lymphoma ?

To diagnose lymphoma the following tests would be recommended

  • Biopsies
  • CT Scan
  • MRI Scan
  • PET Scan
  • Spinal Tap
  • Ultrasound

Lymphomas are staged from stage I to stageIV

Treatment For Lymphoma

Depending on the type and spread of lymphoma, the treatment plan could include

  • Biologic Therapy: This treatment instigates the immune system to attack the cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Radio immunotherapy.
  • Antibody Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Surgery