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The Essence of PET Scans in Determining and Healing Lymphoma

The Essence of PET Scans in Determining and Healing Lymphoma

The malignant cells that cause lymphoma begin at the lymph nodes. Tumor develops when there is an enlargement of the node. The case is quite similar to lymphoid leukemia, but this only involves the bone marrow where the blood cells are produced through the haematopoesis process as well as the circulating blood.

The first description of this dreaded disease was first published in 1832. This was done by Thomas Hodgkin, thus the name of the Hodgkin type of this illness. There are many other forms that have been discovered since then and all these are now part of a large group of illnesses that are known as hematological neoplasms.

When you start feeling that you have the symptoms, especially the enlarged lymph nodes, you should seek the help of your doctor. This case may not always mean that you are sick, but to make sure that you are okay, you have to get yourself checked by a professional. The first step that doctors may require you to undergo is biopsy, the type of which will be dictated as to the organs that are infected with the disease. After it was established that you already have it, the doctors will then try to categorize from which type of this illness you are suffering from. Before you can be given proper treatment for your condition, your bone marrow needs to be tested and you have to go through various tests and scans.

PET Scans

One of the special kinds of scans that you may be asked to undergo is PET scan or Positron Emission Tomography. This is able to determine the cancers based on the high activity that is happening on the cancer cell.

Other types of scans provide different results. For example, MR type and CT scans present good quality photographs of the various body parts where you can view the masses of tumors and swollen nodes. The problem with these scans is the fact that doctors cannot based their findings whether a person has the illness based on the size and shape of what was photographed through these processes. This is what PET scans are able to fill in the blanks.

PET scans are useful in the procedure because these are used to map out the disease on a person’s body. Along with the other kinds of tests, all results can be used to determine the stages of the disease. This is also able to find out if the lump that showed up on other tests, is cancerous or not. After the condition was settled, the doctor can then proceed to give the necessary treatment, whether you need to go through chemotherapy or it will be best to undergo radiation.

After some cycles of chemotherapy, you have to go through the same scans and it will help to assess how well your body is responding to it. When the treatment has been done, you still have to go through PET scans to know whether the lump still has cancer cells, scar tissue or it has already been healed.


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Knowing Your Cancer, How Lymphoma Spreads

These are some facts according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: 19.5 out of every 100,000 people in the world develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma while 2.8 out of every 100,000 people in the world are diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. Hodgkins disease and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma are two of the main classifications of lymphoma, a cancer of the bodys lymph system. The lymph system, being part of our immune system, is tasked to eliminate bacteria, diseases and infection from our body. But when the cells multiply abnormally, tumors begin to appear in the lymph nodes. You can feel these as lumps in the nodes of the neck, armpit and groin. Soon the cancer cells will spread in other parts of the body, how lymphoma spreads is a good thing to know.

Metastasis. This is a word we often hear in cancer patients. This is actually a term which refers to the spreading of cancer to the rest of the body. Lymphoma at first is a single tumor in one of the many lymph nodes of the body. What happens when the cancer cells undergo metastasis is that cancer-infected cells break away from the main tumor and moves to another part of the body. The cancer cells use the bloodstream to move from one area of the body to another. The cancer cell can attach itself to another lymph node or to other organs of the body. When it fastened firmly, the cells reproduce again until it creates another mass of tissue to form as a tumor. Then the whole process repeats itself.

For lymphoma, the cancer cells use the lymphatic system of the body to spread. The lymphatic system of the body is pretty much like the bloodstream, it is spread although out the body since it is responsible for keeping the body clean from infections and diseases. The lymphatic system is an open canal where cancer cells can travel and create more tumors.

The tumors are pretty deadly. Because of the accelerated rate of growth, these cancer cells can continue to make the tumors grow. Soon enough the tumors grow large enough that the healthy tissues or organs are prevented to function normally. Eventually the healthy tissues or organs will stop functioning which spells death to the person.

Like any cancer, lymphoma has also a number of stages. These stages describe the severity of the condition and indicate how far the cancer cells have infected the body. Stage I is the first stage of the cancer. At this level, the cancer cells have only infected one lymph node or one part of the body. Because it is still developing, this stage is also referred to as the early disease.

The second stage or Stage II is far more alarming. At this point the cancer cells have metastasis and have infected another one or even more lymph nodes or parts of the body. However, at Stage II the infection is limited to either above or below the persons diaphragm. This stage is called locally advanced disease.

Stage III is known as the advanced disease. The cancer cells at this stage have found its way on both sides of the diaphragm and have established a number of tumors in those areas. The final stage or Stage IV or widespread disease is described by spread of the cancer cells to one or more of the bodys organs such as the bone, skin, liver or lungs.

This is how lymphoma spreads. That is why it is important for an early detection of the disease for proper and effective treatment.


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