Each year, 48,000 new diagnoses of lymphoma are made in the United States alone.Because it is one of the leading causes of death from cancer, a lot of work is being done in the diagnosis and treatment of it. Lymphoma can affect almost any part of your body, because your lymphatic system consists of your stomach, skin, bones, intestines, lymph nodes and more. Lymphoma happens when your white blood cells multiply abnormally, which in turn, enlarges your lymph nodes. It can also affect your bones and blood cells, which can result in anemia. Anemia, in turn, has many symptoms and side effects.
The Types of Lymphomas
Typically, there are two different classifications of lymphoma cancer: Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s. Hodgkin’s offers a 75% recovery rate, while non-Hodgkin’s boasts 50-60% of patients who do not show a recurrence in five years or more. The types of lymphomas are classified according to the type of tissue that is affected.
Symptoms of Lymphoma
Of course, you should always talk with your doctor if you feel like something is not right. With lymphoma, you may notice some swelling in your abdomen, groin, stomach, skin, neck or armpits. Most victims have a loss of appetite (which results in a loss of weight due to the nausea), fatigue from the anemia, itching, bone pain, fever, night sweats and bloating.
While doctors do not know the actual cause of lymphoma, they do not think it is hereditary (though there may be some genetic factors). It usually occurs between ages 40 and 70, and might be due to some environmental factors or infections. If you have had exposure to a lot of radiation (even in therapy), then you might be at risk, or if you have AIDS.
Lymphoma treatment usually consists of radiotherapy. Radiotherapy has been shown to limit the number of recurrence, especially long term, and in some cases, cure the individual of the cancer entirely. Some doctors might recommend this therapy even if the cancer victim does not notice any symptoms yet, and might do a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. For individuals with low-grade lymphoma, bone marrow transplant may be an option, though it is relatively new and unstudied. As with any type of cancer, lymphoma treatment carries an element of risk to it, but because the success rates are so high at causing the cancer to go into remission, most people believe it to be worth the risk.