Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and includes the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, thymus gland, and lymphatic vessels. Lymphoma develops when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, undergo abnormal changes and start multiplying uncontrollably.
The two main categories of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Lymphoma can occur at any age but is more common in older adults. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplants. With an improved understanding of the different types of lymphoma, patients can receive more targeted therapies that lead to better outcomes.
Understanding Lymphoma Cancer
Lymphoma arises when lymphocytes divide abnormally and begin growing out of control. Normal lymphocytes help fight infections but in lymphoma, the DNA of lymphocytes becomes damaged, causing them to proliferate rapidly. This results in many abnormal lymphocytes collecting in the lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, and other lymphatic tissue.
These cancerous lymphocytes interfere with the immune system’s ability to fight infection. Lymphoma cells can travel through the bloodstream and lymphatic system, spreading the cancer to other parts of the body. The specific causes of lymphoma are still being researched but factors that increase risk include a weakened immune system, infections, autoimmune disorders, radiation exposure, chemicals, and genetics.
Symptoms depend on where the lymphoma starts but may include swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, fevers, night sweats, weight loss, and itchy skin. A biopsy of affected tissue is needed for an accurate diagnosis.
8 Types Of Lymphoma Cancer
💠 Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma: This aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma accounts for around 30% of lymphoma cases. It starts in B-lymphocytes and grows quickly. Early treatment is critical.
💠 Follicular Lymphoma: Originating in the lymph nodes, this slow-growing form of lymphoma affects B-cells. It is usually incurable but controllable.
💠 Mantle Cell Lymphoma: This B-cell lymphoma mainly affects men over 60. It spreads through the blood and bone marrow. Treatment can keep it in remission.
💠 Marginal Zone Lymphoma: This indolent B-cell lymphoma is found in the marginal zone of lymph tissue. It may or may not require treatment.
💠 Burkitt Lymphoma: This rare and fast-growing B-cell lymphoma is linked to the Epstein-Barr virus. Aggressive chemotherapy is standard.
💠 Mycosis Fungoides: This cutaneous T-cell lymphoma first affects the skin and can eventually spread. The early stage has a good prognosis.
💠 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: This T-cell lymphoma is more common in children. High-dose chemotherapy provides a good chance for remission.
💠 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, this B-cell lymphoma has distinctive giant cells called Reed-Sternberg cells. Radiation or chemotherapy often cures it.
How To Prevent Lymphoma Cancer?
While lymphoma causes are still being determined, the following steps may help lower your risk:
- Avoid infections like HIV and EBV that weaken immunity
- Eat a balanced diet high in antioxidants
- Exercise regularly to reduce inflammation
- Maintain a healthy weight to avoid obesity
- Avoid exposure to certain chemicals like benzene
- Don’t smoke and limit alcohol intake
- Manage autoimmune disorders if you have them
- Take medications as prescribed to avoid immunosuppression
- Get recommended vaccinations to avoid illnesses
- Avoid radiation exposure when possible
While you can’t eliminate all risks, leading a generally healthy lifestyle may help prevent lymphoma development.
Lymphoma is a complex cancer that originates in the lymphocytes of the lymphatic system. The major categories are Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which are further divided into B-cell and T-cell lymphomas. There are many subtypes that grow and spread differently. Diagnosis involves a biopsy of enlarged lymph nodes or affected organs.
Treatment depends on the type but usually involves chemotherapy and sometimes radiation or stem cell transplants. While many lymphomas are curable if caught early, others remain difficult to treat. Understanding the various types of lymphoma cancer allows for more personalized and effective treatment approaches to be used. Patients should discuss all their options with a hematologist-oncologist to determine the optimal therapies. With research advances, survival rates for lymphoma continue to improve.
A: Early signs of lymphoma may include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, or groin, unexplained fatigue, unintentional weight loss, fever, and drenching night sweats. Lymph nodes that grow quickly and are painless are more suggestive of lymphoma.
A: While no foods definitively prevent lymphoma, eating a diet rich in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can support immune health. Adding omega-3 fatty acids from fish and healthy fats may also help reduce inflammation.
A: Most lymphoma cases are not directly inherited. But having a first-degree relative with lymphoma raises your risk slightly. Certain rare inherited immune system disorders also increase lymphoma risk. There can be a genetic factor but environment and lifestyle play a large role too.
A: Many types of lymphoma are highly treatable, especially if diagnosed early. Chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplants can effectively treat or cure certain lymphomas. But other subtypes remain challenging to treat. Early diagnosis and new therapies continue to improve lymphoma outcomes.