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The Types of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Lymphomas are cancers of the lymph system which ironically is part of the bodys defense mechanism to fight off infections and diseases. But sometimes the abnormal growth of the healthy lymphatic cells causes the tissues to mass up creating tumors and eventually becoming cancer cells. If left untreated, the cancer cells can easily break away from the tissues and begin infecting other parts of the lymphatic system and eventually moving to other organs of the body. There are essentially two kinds of lymphomas, the Hodgkins lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Hodgkins lymphoma is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Other lymphomas do not contain these cells so the rest of the lymphomas were classified as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or NHL. There are a number of sub-types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Each are quite distinct targeting specific age groups aside from having unique forms.

One kind of NHL is the lymphoblastic lymphoma or LBL which commonly occurs in children. In fact about 30% of documented cases of lymphomas in children have been classified as lymphoblastic lymphomas. LBL is very aggressive kind of NHL and has caused quite a number of deaths in the past. But because of modern medicine and treatment techniques, LBL patients have better odds of surviving the ordeal.

Unlike LBL, the diffuse histiocytic lymphoma type or DHL is a slow growing cancer. And because it is slow-growing the cancer is quite hard to detect. Also, there are times where the cancer reappears after treatment.

Another kind of NHL appears closer to the bodys surface. The cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or CTLC is a kind of lymphoma that affects the skin. What happens is that the white blood cells of the skin become cancerous. At first, the signs are dry, scaly skin with red or dark patches. These areas of the skin also itch a lot. But as the cancer cells continue to grow, the skin will develop highly noticeable tumors. Eventually the cancer cells enter the blood stream and spreads all over the body which soon infects other tissues and organs.

Although not common, the mantle cell lymphoma is another kind of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This cancer borders on being rare since only an estimated 5% of people diagnosed with NHL have it. It seems that the cancer is more likely to occur in men 50 years old and older. The cancer starts off as a slow growing lymphoma but can suddenly become aggressive in later stages.

Doctors have made 4 classifications or stages of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which basically indicates how fast and how far the cancer cells have spread. Stage 1 is when the cancer cells are grouped in lymph node or organ of the body. In stage 2 the cancer has spread to two or more groups of lymph nodes or organs on the same side of your diaphragm. Stage 3 is where the cancer cells have infected organs on both sides of the diaphragm and finally stage 4 is when the different types of non-Hodgkins lymphoma have gone beyond the lymphatic system and infecting other organs like the liver, bones, and lungs.


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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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All You Need to Know About Lymphoma

Whenever you get sick, whats the first thing that you do? Know what you have. Either its a simple fever or a complicated illness, the very first thing that you do is to gather information to find out your current condition. The same thing with lymphoma, whether you research things on your own or go to a doctor (although this should always be the case since self diagnosis can bring you only so far) for advice, your target is to get all you need know about the disease.

Lymphoma is basically a cancer of the lymphatic system. The system is composed of various nodes or glands situated in different places of our body. These glands are connected by vessels that carry the lymph fluid or the white blood cells which help fight diseases. As you might have remembered in your high school biology class, the white blood cells help fight the bacteria and diseases that enter our body. And because these glands are connected to each other, once lymphoma hits a gland, theres a good chance that the cancer cells spread throughout the body via the lymph vessels. You should know this fact out front: no cure has been discovered yet that would eliminate the disease. Nonetheless, there are new techniques, medicines and medical procedures that have brought more positive treatments for people with lymphoma.

There are two kinds of lymphoma, namely Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). The first one, the Hodgkins disease owes its name to Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866). He was the first one who published a paper about the disease. This kind of lymphoma is capable of spreading from one lymph node to another. It is also observed that people diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma has the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells which can only be detected by the aid of a microscope.

The other kind of lymphoma is the non-Hodgkin kind. This kind is described as having larger than normal lymph nodes and is accompanied by fever and weight loss. There are about 16 sub-types which do not fall under the conditions described by Hodgkins lymphoma. These sub-types are grouped according to aggressiveness which basically means the cancer cells are fast-growing. NHL lymphomas include chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), Burkitt lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and immunoblastic large cell lymphoma.

Treatment is either radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The age, sex and stage of the cancers development plays a role in determining the kind of treatment patients will undergo. Early detection is crucial. Most of the patients do survive the treatment especially if they have been diagnosed during the early stages of the lymphoma.

Some of the more common symptoms of lymphomas include painless swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck, underarm, or groin. People with lymphomas also might experience fever, tiredness, weight loss, itchiness, red patches on the skin, nausea, vomiting and sometimes abdominal pain.

Those with low-grade lymphomas will encounter a very slow growth of the cancer cells and will experience very few of the symptoms. The problem with low-grade lymphomas is that even though they respond well to chemotherapy, they oftentimes return and is considered incurable unlike high-grade lymphomas. With the latter, treatment involves chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy.

Admittedly, the information above is not all that you need to know about lymphoma. There are more facts that you need to find out for yourself especially if you have been diagnosed with having lymphoma.


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