Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes and lymphaticsystem. This type of cancer starts in the lymph nodes and affects theproduction and function of lymph-node blood cells, or lymphocytes that plays animportant role in the immune system. Lymphoma occurs when the lymphocytes do notnaturally die off and begin to grow and multiply uncontrollably, producingcancerous cells that have the abnormal capacity to invade other tissuesthroughout the body (MacGill, M.
MedicalNews Today, 2017). The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma andnon-Hodgkin lymphoma.The main symptom of lymphoma is usually anenlargement of lymph nodes that does not go away as it normally would afterinfection (MacGill, M. Medical NewsToday, 2017). The other symptoms and signs of lymphoma are chills ortemperature swings, fevers (especially at night), loss of appetite andunexplained weight loss, excessive fatigue and lack of energy, persistent itchall over the body without an apparent cause or rash, shortness of breath, persistentcoughing, enlarged tonsils, headache, chest pain, and swollen, painful abdomen orabdominal discomfort, back or bone pain difficulty in shaking off infections (Lymphoma association, 2017; MacGill, M. Medical News Today, 2017; Lymphoma Canada).
Blood tests and biopsies from the affected lymph node tissuecan detect the presence of lymphoma (MacGill, M. Medical News Today, 2017). As other forms of diagnostics,bone marrow biopsy, imaging (x-ray) tests, computerized tomography (CT) scan,magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound scan may be used (American Cancer Society, 2016).Treatment for lymphoma depends on the type of lymphoma, the stage it has reached,symptoms, results of genetic tests, and patient’s state (MacGill, M. Medical News Today, 2017; Lymphoma association, 2016). Indolent,or slow-growing lymphoma may need only “watchful waiting” and no specific treatment.
If treatment is necessary, it can involve: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radioimmunotherapy (this delivers high-powered radioactive doses directly into thecancerous cells to destroy them), biologic therapy (drug treatment thatstimulates the immune system to attack the cancer cells by inserting livingmicroorganisms into the body), antibody therapy (in which case syntheticantibodies are inserted into the bloodstream to combat the cancer’s antigens),stem cell transplantation, steroids, supportive care, and surgery (MacGill, M. Medical News Today, 2017; Lymphoma association, 2016). The most commontreatments for lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.