Cancer » Lymphoma Cancer
Lymphoma cancer is one of the common forms of cancer and is the 5th most common cancer in the United States. Men are more prone to the disease as compared to women and the disease occurs mainly in the adults. According to WHO (World Health Organization) report, there are around 43 various kinds of lymphoma.
Nature of the disease
Lymphoma cancer mainly develops in the lymph nodes and damages the live lymphatic cells. The cancer may develop in various areas such as lymph glands, tonsils, spleen, adenoids, thymus and bone marrow. Lymph cells are also known as white blood cells (WBC) and play an important role in smooth functioning of the body organs. Their main function is to develop a strong immunity system for the body. Their presence in the blood and lymph nodes is considerable and vital. Lymphatic system also plays an important role in returning the fluids generated by the tissues to the blood stream.
Basically, the lymphatic system carries fluid called lymph that contains the WBC. Hence, it plays a vital part in preventing your body from getting infected and makes you immune to viral attack. Lymphatic cells also play a vital role in curbing the abnormal cells right in their precancerous stage. Cancer in the lymphatic system is very dangerous as it attacks the main protective shield of the body. Disorders in the body' immunity system may also lead to many other disorders other than the cancer of lymphoma and make the victim more prone to other types of infections or even cancers.
Lymphocytes or the lymph cells are of two different kinds as T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes and are also called as T cells and B cells respectively. T cells perform the important function of killing pathogens while the B cells are the main antibody producers. These cells also remember the nature and kind of the infected cells they kill and hunt them down instantly if they recur. This is how the body's immunity develops.
Lymphoma cancer starts with the invasion of healthy tissues by the cancerous cells. The malignant cells target mainly the tissues present in the lymphatic system of the body and prevent them from carrying out their basic functions. Tissues play an important role in providing oxygen and blood to various parts of the body and play a vital role in cell-development mechanism. After attacking the tissues, these malignant cells bring about an abnormal division and growth of cells. This abnormal growth leads to excessive unnecessary cells and prevents the normal cells from dying naturally. Thus, a lump of dead and inactive cells is formed that finally leads to a tumor. The tumor develops primarily in the lymphatic system and spreads to other areas at a later stage.
The tumor can be benign or cancerous. Benign tumors are generally non-destructive and do not indulge in invading tissues. They do not spread and have very less chances of recurrence. The cancerous tumors are the man troublemakers and damage the healthy tissues and adjacent cells. They spread to other areas through the lymph nodes and bloodstream and can recur even if treated in the past.
Cancer of the lymphoma is of two main types as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin. Thomas Hodgkin was the first to describe the disease and hence, the cancer is named after him. Nodular sclerosing Hodgkin is the most general form of Hodgkin lymphoma. Presence of a unique cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell is an important indicator of Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma spreads faster than the Hodgkin's lymphoma and covers a wide variety of the cancer of lymphomas.
How to tackle the disease?
Lymphoma cancer can be treated completely and safely with minimum side effects if detected in the initial stages. The cancer is more common in people above 55 years of age though some cases have also been detected among youngsters. The risk of getting prone to the disease increases with age. Also, people infected with hepatitis B or C are more prone to the cancer. As the cancer develops in the cells maintaining immunity system of the body, a weak immunity system is one of the major causes of the disorder. Helicobacter pylori and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is also an indirect but important cause of the disease. People infected by Epstein-Barr virus or celiac disease are also at risk. Previous treatment for cancer may benefit the cancerous cells to develop quickly.
Smoking, tobacco chewing and excess consumption of alcohol is not a direct cause of the disease but must be avoided. Any one of these habits may lead to severe damage to tissues and make them less resistive to the invasion by malignant cells. Family history of the disease is another main disadvantage. A strong immunity system is necessary to prevent form being infected from the cancer of the lymphoma. Strong immunity also helps in fighting the disease with ease and prevents the cancerous cells from developing faster. Regular consumption of fresh vegetables, salads and fruits is advantageous to keep your immunity intact. Regular exercise will benefit in increasing the resistance power of the body and prevent abnormal cell-growth.
Swelling is the infected area is the most important indication of the presence of cancerous cells. You must consult a physician if the swelling is uncommon. You may or may not experience pains in the infected areas. Unexpected weight loss, frequent fevers, sweating at nights and inactiveness need urgent attention. Cancer of the lymphoma do not show any significant symptoms related directly to the disease. Hence, you need to go through a thorough medical examination if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Lymphoma cancer is curable if detected in time. Many techniques like the biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan), computed tomography scan (CT scan), X-rays, lymphangiogram, gallium scan and positron emission tomography scan (PET scan) are used to examine body internally. Cancer of the lymphoma may also lead to blood cancer and should not be taken lightly.