Made of lymph nodes and vessels, our lymphatic system moves lymph fluid throughout the body. The lymph nodes function as filters—they capture and destroy bacteria and viruses to prevent the spread of infections.

But sometimes the lymph cells, the white blood cells present in the lymph nodes, can become cancerous. Cancerous lymph cells are called lymphomas.

Such abnormal growth can affect any portion of the lymphatic system, including:

  • Bone Marrow
  • Thymus
  • Spleen
  • Tonsils
  • Lymph Nodes

Lymphoma is categorized into Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

The presence of lymphomas may not always be clear in the initial stages. A doctor may find swollen or inflamed lymph nodes during a checkup. This feels like small, soft nodules under the skin of places like.

  • Neck
  • Upper Chest
  • Armpit
  • Stomach
  • Groin

In its early stages, lymphoma’s symptoms usually overlap with the symptoms of other cancers and blood disorders. Such symptoms include:

  • Bone Pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Fever
  • Night Sweats
  • Pain when drinking alcohol
  • Itchy Rash
  • Rash in skin folds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin itching
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

When cells reproduce uncontrollably, cancer happens.
Healthy cells have a life span—they grow and eventually die. But cancerous cells thrive and reproduce over and over.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk factors

Risk factors for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) include:

  • Weak immune system
  • Presence of autoimmune diseases
  • Old Age
  • Sex. Women are more likely to develop some particular types of lymphoma, and men are more likely to develop other types
  • Ethnicity. Caucasians in the United States are more likely to develop some types of lymphoma than African-Americans or Asian-Americans
  • History of radiation exposure
  • Obesity

Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk factors

Risk factors for Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:

  • Young adults and older adults
  • Sex. Men are more likely than women to develop this type of lymphoma
  • Family history
  • Weak immune systems

To detect the presence of lymphoma tumors, a biopsy is taken. The doctor will remove cells from an enlarged lymph nodes. Another doctor, a hematopathologist will try to find out if lymphoma cells are present.

If lymphoma cells are found, another test will be taken to gauge the spread of the virus. This can be done via a chest X-ray, blood testing, or testing lymph nodes or tissues.

Imaging scans, such as a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, or PET scan can also detect additional tumors or enlarged lymph nodes.

Treating lymphoma will firstly depend on its type, and secondly, its spread to other parts of the body.

The main treatments for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

The main treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

The alternatives in treatments that don’t work is a stem cell transplant.

Such treatment starts with high doses of chemotherapy. Though this step will kill cancer cells, it will also destroy the stem cells in your bone marrow. For that reason, you’ll get a stem cell transplant to replace the ones that were destroyed.

There are two ways this can be done:

  • Healthy blood stem cells from your own body – Autologous transplant
  • A donor’s healthy stem cells replace your damaged bone marrow – Allogeneic transplant

Patients are our number one priority. We are committed to their health and well-being. It is this dedication that guides us to give our very best, and our multidisciplinary team of trained professionals work together to ensure quality care. If you’re showing any symptoms of Lymphoma listed above, consult the team of experts at Haemato Oncology Care Centre (HOCC) without any delay.

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