Cancer. Even just reading this word might give you chills. This scary condition affects millions and millions of people all over the world. There are various types of cancer, all of which are quite alarming, particularly if they progress to later stages. There are also forms of cancer which are deadly. One of these is lymphoma, or the cancer of the lymphatic system. Because this cancer is especially life-threatening, it is important to kno the causes, symptoms and treatments for it. If you want to learn more, feel free to give this article a read.
Lymphoma: What Is this Condition?
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Lymphoma is a kind of cancer that affects various types of cells in the immune system, particularly the white blood cells, or the lymphocytes T or lymphocytes B. the lymphocytes travel all over the body in a clear fluid known as lymph. Using a set of vessels called the lymphatic system, lymph passes into small, bean-shaped organs we call the lymph nodes. This can trap various harmful substances. The bigger clusters of lymph nodes are found in the groin, neck and armpits.
In lymphoma, the lymphocytes B and T uncontrollably multiply and fail to die like normal cells. Patients who have this condition may see a swelling in their lymph nodes, instigated by the development of painless tumors or lumps. Furthermore, lymphoma may also occur in other areas of the body, as small quantities of lymph tissue and lymph pass through virtually all the organs in our body.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the immune system cells, or the lymphocytes. These cells are found in the bone marrow, thymus, spleen and lymph nodes. When you have lymphoma, the lymphocytes may change and grow out of control.
There are actually two main types of lymphoma:
- Hodgkin, and
- Non-Hodgkin, which is the most common type of lymphoma.
Both types of lymphoma can affect different kinds of lymphocytes, each of which grow at a different rate and respond differently to treatments. Despite the fact that lymphoma is cancer, it is very curable. In fact, many cases have been cured.
Lymphoma: What Causes It?
Scientists actually don’t know what really causes lymphoma, but here are some of the most common probable causes of lymphoma:
- Radiation treatment for cancer
- Exposure to benzene and some other chemicals used to kill weeds and bugs
- Genetics, or a family history of lymphoma
- Having an immune system deficiency like lupus, celiac disease or rheumatoid arthritis
- Gender (men are more prone to the condition than women)
- Age (those aged 60+ are more prone)
Lymphoma: What Are the Symptoms?
The warning symptoms of lymphoma may include:
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain
- Night Sweats
- Shortness of breath
- A cough
- Swollen glands, often in the groin, armpit or neck
A number of these symptoms may also be an indication of some other illnesses. You must consult your doctor to make sure that your symptoms are really indicative of lymphoma.
Risk Factors for Lymphoma (Both Types)
The different types of lymphoma actually have different risk factors. They are as follows:
Here are the factors that may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma:
- Body weight and diet
- Breast implants
- Autoimmune disease
- Chemicals and radiation
- Location and ethnicity
Below are the factors that may increase the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma:
- HIV infection
- Infectious mononucleosis
Treatments for Lymphoma
The treatments for lymphoma actually depend on what type of lymphoma you have, as well as what stage it is in. An idle or slow-progressing lymphoma may only need watchful waiting and require no treatment at all. If seeking treatment turn out to be necessary, below is a list of available options:
Treatments for lymphoma:
- Surgery: this is used to remove the spleen or other organs affected by a spread of cancer.
- Steroids: these are beneficial in treating lymphoma.
- Stem-cell transplant: this is used to restore damaged bone marrow.
- Radiation therapy: this is beneficial for small areas of cancer.
- Radioimmunotherapy: this is beneficial in delivering high-power radioactive doses to the cancer cells, which immediately destroys them.
- Chemotherapy: this aggressive drug treatment is beneficial in killing cancer cells.
- Antibody therapy: this is where synthetic antibodies are inserted into the bloodstream to get rid of antigens of cancer.
- Biologic therapy: this is one of the drug treatments for lymphoma. It stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells by inserting living microorganisms into the body.
If you are not used to or are opposed to the above-mentioned treatments, here are some home treatments for lymphoma:
- Olive leaf extract
- Green tea extract
- Lower stress
- Milk thistle
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Stopping smoking
- Reishi mushroom