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Looking Out For The Warning Signs Of Lymphoma

Lymphoma, the cancer of the lymph system, is one of the hardest diseases to deal with. This is because up until now, no cure has been discovered to appease the fear of people at risk in this type of disease. Although there are some preventive measures that are advertised to prevent cancer cells from growing, nothing can stop it fully once it has multiplied and disabled the function of specific organs in the body.

Lymph system refers to a network of interconnected nodes and thin tubes which paves the way for the white blood cells to be carried out in the different parts of the body. White blood cells are very important since these helps fight infections. When these cells are struck by cancer cells, it will affect the way the white blood cells and will lead to its dysfunction.

Lymphoma targets a part of the lymph system and it does not refer to single cancer but to a group of many cancers that are related. As of today, there are about 30 types of lymphoma including “Mantle Cell Lymphoma,” “Malt Lymphoma,” “Cutaneous (Skin) Lymphoma,” “Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma,” “Burkitt Lymphoma,” and “Primary CNS Lymphoma” among others but these types can belong to two different categories including the Hodgkin Disease and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

According to experts, both categories may exhibit the same symptoms that are why the diagnosis and sets of examinations are done. But, the major difference in these two types will be noticeable depending on the person being affected.

Red flags of lymphoma

Lymphoma could be considered as a silent threat because it will take some time before its symptoms occur. And, when they do, they can be so common or “generic” thats why many people dont take it so seriously. Unless the symptoms become so noticeable and appear ever so often, that’s the only time when the person suffering from it would consider consulting a doctor.

If you are at risk, say belong to a family whose history include cancerspecifically cancer of the lymph systemthen it would be best to undergo a check up once you:

– feel painless lumps in the neck, armpits or groin. Experts say that this is the most commonand at timesthe ONLY one that is the symptom of lymphoma. Once you have enlarged nodes, it is the best time to undergo a check up. You can check if your nodes are enlarged when changing clothes or while taking a bath. You can also ask your sister or your partner to check it for you if you feel uncertain about the lumps. However, not all emerged lymph nodes are always signs of lymphoma so its better if you consult a physician to be sure.

– drastic weight loss. Once cancer cells attack the lymph system, the person will suddenly lose weight without apparent reason. In fact, once lymphoma remains undetected in the coming months, the person may lose as much as 15 to 20 pounds!

Other symptoms of lymphoma aside from enlarged lymph nodes and drastic weight loss may include continuous fever, sweating excessively specially during night time despite cold weather, and severe itchiness on almost all parts of the body which are results of special chemicals that are secreted by lymphoma cells.


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Asking Your Doctor about Lymphoma

Lymphoma simply means cancer of the lymphatic system. However, as simple as it sounds the disease is quite complex. So it is only natural to begin asking your doctor about lymphoma right from the start. But it is essential that you ask the right questions as well. Never be shy about asking questions that you think sounds stupid. Your future health is on the line so it is imperative that you be properly informed.

We often ask our doctors what causes lymphoma. Unfortunately, the answer to this question remains to be a big fat unknown. Doctors and scientists have yet to identify the singular cause of the cancer. However, what they were able to do was identify the different risk factors involve that might affect the development of lymphoma. It seems that prolong exposure to hazardous chemicals, herbicides, pesticides and even drugs that suppress the bodys immune system have been tied to the high chances of developing cancer of the lymphatic system. Avoiding these situations would be a good life choice or at the very least if you work in the industry where handling chemicals or pesticides are necessary you should take the necessary precautions to protect our bodies from harm.

You need to ask your doctor what type of lymphoma you have. There are two kinds: the Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is immediately identifiable under the microscope due to the presence of a particular cell. This is actually the most common kind of lymphoma. The rest of the cases that dont adhere to the conditions and appearance of Hodgkins lymphoma are simply classified as non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Even though they have similarities, the two kinds of lymphoma use slightly different treatment procedures which are why it is important that your doctors are able to identify what kind you have.

How far the disease has spread and how serious is the condition? This is another pertinent information before treatment is implemented. There are basically four stages of lymphoma development. The first stage is where the cancer cells are just in one part of your body so far. At this stage the cancer cells are isolated in at least one lymph node. The second stage is more complex for the cancer cells are in two or more lymph nodes or regions. The cancer cells are located either above or below the diaphragm. This stage is also referred to as “locally advanced disease.”

The next stage is the advance disease which is the third stage already. The cancer cells at this point are already on both sides of the diaphragm. The final stage or stage four means the cancer cells have already spread to other parts of the body.

The next series of questions would be concerning the treatment. What are the treatment recommendations and what are the procedures for the treatment. There are a number of treatment options available. Among them is biologic therapy which uses methods like monoclonal antibodies, radioimmunotherapy, interleukin 2 and vaccines that boost the bodys capability of protecting itself from lymphoma. Other treatments include the conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Asking your doctor about lymphoma means to get all the information about the disease in order for you to be prepared physically, mentally and psychologically on the next steps that you would need to undergo.


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