All forms of cancer together have been credited to be the leading cause of death in the world as of now. Due to changing lifestyles, pollution, and various other factors, deaths from cancers have become pretty standard. However, a particular type of cancer called Lymphoma exists – which can be equally fatal as other types.
To know more about this type of cancer, typically in middle-aged males, read this post till the end. Here, I have explained what its types, symptoms, and treatment procedures are.
What Is Lymphoma?
As the name suggests, lymphoma is a cancerous growth of cells in your lymph nodes. It’s a type of cancer that affects your lymph nodes – the germ-fighting system of your body.
This form of cancer develops because of infected lymphocytes – cells in your immune system that fight against diseases and infections. Therefore, due to this form of cancer, your immune system becomes weaker, making you vulnerable to either diseases or infections.
However, compared to other forms of cancer, lymphoma is easier to treat as long as it can be diagnosed early. It’s one of the more common types of cancer.
Types Of Lymphoma
As of now, many types of lymphoma can affect you. However, all these types can be broadly categorized into two main types. They are as follows:
1. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Also known as Hodgkin’s disease is one of the more common types of this cancer. Here, the lymph nodes mutate and start multiplying rapidly. However, Hodgkin’s disease can be identified by the presence of the cancerous Reed-Sternberg cells.
This form of cancer can be further subdivided into two types, depending on the type of mutation that occurs:
- B-Cell Lymphoma: B-cells are special white blood cells that are produced to fight against various germs like bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. These cells are the most active when we suffer from diseases since most are caused by bacteria and viruses.
- T-Cell Lymphoma: T-cells are primarily created in your Thymus. They are responsible for targeting specific abnormalities in your body. In addition, they also help other antibodies in your body by strengthening them when you suffer from various diseases.
2. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
While not as common as Hodgkin’s disease, it’s also pretty common. This cancerous disease can be identified by the presence of mutated lymphocytes in our follicles and other lymph nodes. This disease can be further classified under different types as well.
This disease can also be subdivided into types depending on the type of mutation that occurs:
- Indolent Lymphomas: This type of cancer spreads very slowly through your body. Therefore, detecting them in the earlier stages becomes harder. A common type of indolent lymphoma is Follicular Lymphoma.
- Aggressive Lymphomas: Opposite to indolent lymphomas, this type of cancerous cell growth spreads very quickly. A common type of aggressive lymphoma is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
What Are The Symptoms Of Lymphoma?
The primary lymphoma symptoms are:
- Swollen lymph glands
- Cough and cold
- High fever
- Extreme fatigue and weakness
- Sudden or gradual weight loss
- Itchy skin around the lymph glands
- Decreased appetite
- Increased sweating during nighttime
- Weak immunity system
- Genetics (parents or ancestors had lymphoma)
- Developed a form of cancer due to radiation
What Are The Causes Of Lymphoma?
So far, a lot of research on lymphoma has been conducted by medical institutions and researchers worldwide. However, none of these researches has yielded positive results in finding the exact causes of this cancerous disease.
Lymphocyte starts with the sudden mutation of your lymph nodes and glands in your body. These nodes and glands are responsible for creating white blood cells called lymphocytes. These lymphocytes are responsible for fighting against various diseases and infections.
When these glands mutate, they start producing infected lymphocytes, whose production starts to spiral out of control and spread.
The main lymph glands are organs affected by lymphoma cancer are:
- Lymph Nodes: These organs are tiny in size (similar to beans) and can be found in various parts of your body. They are commonly found in areas like your groin, armpits, neck, abdomen, and chest. All lymph nodes are connected to each other through lymphatic vessels.
- Spleen: The spleen is another lymphocyte producer that is located behind the lower end of the stomach. Its function is to store lymphocytes and help filter dead and damaged blood cells.
- Bone Marrow: The bone marrow is the primary producer of red and white blood cells, including lymphocytes. Its infection can cause various blood diseases.
- Thymus: The thymus is present in the heart, near the breastbone, that runs through the middle of the chest. This organ is responsible for creating a specific type of lymphocyte called the T-lymphocytes.
- Tonsils: Since a lot of germs can enter through your mouth when it’s open, the tonsils are there to protect you. The tonsils, along with adenoids, are present in the back of your throat, creating antibodies to fight against inhaled germs.
How To Treat Lymphoma?
There are two stages of treating this disease.
The first step is to identify which type of lymphoma it is. This can be done by the following tests:
- Biopsy: In this test, the doctor takes out a bone marrow sample for further testing.
- X-Ray Scans: Scans of your chest are taken using radiation.
- MRI Scan: Here, magnetic and radio waves are used to take scans of your organs.
- PET Scan: This type of precision scanning identifies the presence of cancerous cells in your body.
- Molecular Tests: This is a pretty expensive test that is conducted to find out genetic changes and mutations in your body.
- Blood Tests: This is a simple blood test done to identify diseases quickly.
After the type of lymphoma is identified, t treatments are conducted depending on its type:
- Chemotherapy: Specific drugs and medicines are used to kill cancerous cells.
- Immunotherapy: Here, specific medicines are used to strengthen your immune system to fight against cancerous cells.
- Radiation Therapy: Here, high-energy radiations are used to target and destroy cancerous cells.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
I have answered various questions which people have asked about lymphoma, which are as follows:
Q1. Is Lymphoma A Serious Cancer?
Ans. Unlike other forms of cancer, this type of cancer is less fatal. In addition, it can be cured relatively easily through various treatment processes.
Q2. What is The Survival Rate Of Lymphoma?
Ans. Depending on the stages of Lymphoma, the mortality rate can be anywhere between 75% to 95%.
Q3. At What Age Is Lymphoma Diagnosed Commonly?
Ans. In most cases, it has been observed that this disease is most common in males between the ages of 40 and 65.
Lymphoma might not be as fatal as other forms of cancer, but it can be equally devastating if left untreated. This type of cancer happens in your lymph nodes all over your body, along with organs like bone marrow and spleen as well. There are no specific causes for its occurrence, and it can be treated with standard cancer treatment procedures.