Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes, or lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a system of lymph vessels and nodes that are located throughout the body.
Many types of cancer start in the lymphatic system and spread into the lymph nodes, blood, or other parts of the body.
The exact cause of lymphoma is not known. However, the condition is more common in people who have an inherited condition such as genetic immunodeficiency. This is also the reason why people who have HIV have a higher risk of lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. Lymph nodes, or lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. If lymphoma spreads to the lymph nodes, it can cause swelling of the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are in the neck, under the arms, and near the groin.
Symptoms of lymphoma
Symptoms of lymphoma can vary, depending on the type of lymphoma. Many people do not have any symptoms of lymphoma.
However, lymphoma can cause:
- Swelling and discomfort in the lymph nodes
- Swelling of the lymph tissue, which can cause the lymph nodes to become enlarged and bulge
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Itching in the lymph nodes
- Bone pain
- Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- Bone fractures
Lymphoma may not always cause symptoms. In these cases, some symptoms may not appear until the lymphoma has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bone marrow or bones.
Other symptoms may include:
- Weight loss
A doctor may be able to diagnose lymphoma based on a physical exam and a complete medical history. A doctor may also order certain tests, including:
- Blood tests
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- PET scan
Blood tests may be done to check for anemia and other blood disorders.
Doctors may also order a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to check for bone marrow involvement. This is a test that involves taking a sample of the bone marrow fluid and looking at it under a microscope.
Doctors may also order a CT scan or an MRI scan to look for lymphoma cells in the chest or abdomen, or in other areas.
Treatment for lymphoma
Treatment for lymphoma depends on the type of lymphoma a person has.
If the lymphoma starts in the lymph nodes, the doctor may prescribe chemotherapy that affects the lymphatic system. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given either orally or through IV (intravenous) infusion.
Doctors may also prescribe radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that may have spread to the lymph nodes.
Doctors may also prescribe immunotherapy drugs to help the immune system fight off cancer cells.
Doctors may prescribe radiation therapy to the chest or abdomen to kill any cancer cells that may have spread to the bones.
In some cases, doctors may prescribe targeted therapy drugs to kill cancer cells.
Doctors may prescribe corticosteroid pills to reduce swelling in the lymph nodes. The pills can help reduce the inflammation and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Staging of lymphoma depends on the type of lymphoma a person has.
Doctors may use the following staging system to determine the stage of lymphoma:
- Stage 1 lymphoma. This is a stage that is used when the lymphoma is found in the lymph nodes.
- Stage 2 lymphoma. This is a stage that is used when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the neck, chest, abdomen, or other areas.
- Stage 3 lymphoma. This is a stage that is used when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the head and neck area, or to other areas of the body, such as the bone marrow.
- Stage 4 lymphoma. This is a stage that is used when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
A person may also be diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma if they have an advanced stage of the disease.
Doctors use this staging system to help them determine the best treatment options.
The American Cancer Society states that the stage of lymphoma will be updated as more information becomes available.
Survival rate for lymphoma
The survival rate for lymphoma is different for each person. The average 5year survival rate for all types of lymphoma combined is about 40% in the United States. The 5year survival rate for the most common types of lymphoma is as follows:
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: 59%
- Hodgkin lymphoma: 31%
However, the survival rate for each type of lymphoma can vary depending on the person. For instance, the 5year survival rate for people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma is about 90% for stage 4.
Risk factors for lymphoma
Risk factors for lymphoma include:
- Age: When a person is diagnosed with lymphoma, it is likely to be in their 40s or 50s. However, lymphoma can develop at any age.
- Race: People of Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American descent are at a higher risk of developing lymphoma. It is not clear why this is the case.
- Sex: People of all races are more likely to develop lymphoma. Men are more likely than women to develop lymphoma.
- Family history: People who have a parent, sibling, or child with lymphoma are more likely to develop this type of cancer.
- Genetics: Some people have a genetic mutation that affects the immune system. This is known as immunodeficiency.
Lymphoma is a broad term that refers to cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. There are several different types of lymphoma.
Below is a table that describes the different types of lymphoma.
The lymphatic system is a network of lymph nodes that carry lymph fluid throughout the body.
There are two types of lymphoma: lymphocytic and non-lymphocytic. Most lymphomas start in the lymph nodes.
Lymphomas differ from other types of cancer in that they start in the lymphatic system, rather than in other parts of the body.
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