Lymphocytes are cells that play an important role in the immune system. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects these cells, and it usually has a form of a solid tumor. It belongs to hematological neoplasm group of diseases.
Lymphoma treatment usually involves chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but it can also require bone marrow transplantation. This type of cancer is curable, if diagnosed early.
Malignant cells come from lymph nodes and they usually form a tumor, causing enlargement of lymph nodes. Other organs can also be affected and that is what doctors call “extranodal lymphoma”.
Different classification systems are used for classifying lymphomas. The most popular classification was developed by Karl Lennert. His classification system used cellular morphology and it also involved their relationship to normal peripheral lymphoid system cells.
Indolent lymphomas can be described as non-aggressive forms of lymphoma. A person can live with an indolent lymphoma, without any special treatment. There are also other, aggressive forms of lymphoma, most of which cause death. These lymphomas can be treated if diagnosed early.
Symptoms of Lymphoma
Sometimes, the symptoms are subtle and in such cases, it is difficult tell whether it’s lymphoma or something else.
● Lumps in your armpits, neck and groin can indicate lymphoma. The lumps are painless, and most people don’t even notice them. However, this is not necessarily a sign of lymphoma.
● Recurring fever can be another symptom of lymphoma. If you have this problem, but you can’t relate it to any other infection, you should see a doctor.
● Unexplainable and rapid weight loss
● Night sweats for no reason
● Body itching can be another sign
● Weakness. Cancers cells can make the body weak because they use up all the important nutrients.
● Neck and face swelling and breathlessness
● Appetite loss can also be a sign of lymphoma.
Lymphomas can affect any organ. That is why a person can have some very unusual symptoms, depending on which organ is affected. In case of a stomach lymphoma, abdominal pain can be one of the most common symptoms, but it can also be a symptom of some other problem, completely unrelated to lymphoma. It is very important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Types of Lymphoma
Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are the major types. The first one can be defined as lymph tissue cancer, located in the lymph nodes, liver, bone marrow and spleen.
There are nearly thirty types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma sub-types are:
- Anaplastic large
- Extranodal natural killer
- Subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma
- Unspecified type
- Enteropathy type
- Diffuse large lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Hairy cell leukemia
- Mantle cell lymphoma
- Splenic marginal zone lymphoma
- Primary mediastinal lymphoma
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Burkitt lymphoma
- Lymphoplasmocytic lymphoma
- Nodal marginal zone lymphoma
- Extranodal marginal zone lymphomas
- Primary central nervous system lymphoma
Lymphoma Diagnosis and Treatment
In most cases, a biopsy of lymph nodes is needed for lymphoma diagnosis. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are used in lymphoma treatment, but they can’t cure all types of lymphoma. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can only alleviate lymphoma symptoms and relieve the pain.
Aggressive types of lymphoma can be cured, but only if a patient has a good response to therapy. Aggressive chemotherapy is usually the only treatment for these (aggressive) lymphomas.