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Jun 2024

Lymphoma: Symptoms, Types, Causes and Treatment

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Jun 28, 2024

Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. This cancer mainly affects the cells, called lymphocytes. There are primarily two types of lymphoma, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Your lymphatic system includes a group of vessels and lymph nodes that help transport lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymph nodes and fluid help fight against bacteria and prevent it from spreading. Although the lymphatic system helps protect the body, lymphocyte cells can become cancerous, and lead to lymphoma.

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is the general term for cancer of the lymphatic system. Primarily, there are two types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Apart from the major types, researchers have found more than 70 sub-types of lymphoma that can affect lymph nodes, bone marrow, thymus, spleen, and tonsils.

What are the symptoms of lymphoma?

Generally, lymphoma may not cause any noticeable symptoms in its early stages, your doctor may detect swollen lymph nodes in the time of a physical examination. Your doctor may detect enlarged lymph nodes in the:

  • Neck
  • Armpit
  • Upper chest
  • Stomach
  • Groin

Early symptoms of lymphoma are not specific, which makes them easy to neglect. However, the early symptoms of lymphoma may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Itching
  • Itchy rash

Early symptoms are often overlooked, which makes it difficult to diagnose at the early stage. However, these symptoms may change as the cancer worsens.

What are the types of lymphoma?

There are mainly two types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, researchers have classified 70 sub-types of lymphoma.

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is an acquired genetic condition, and is comparatively more common than Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This type of lymphoma generally develops from the B and T cells of the immune system when genes inside the cells mutate or change. People over 60 years of age are more likely to develop this type of lymphoma. Treatments help eliminate the signs or symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma is also an acquired genetic disorder, but it is a rarer condition than the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Your doctor may detect Hodgkin’s lymphoma because of the Reed-Sternberg cells. The exact cause of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is still unknown, several factors can contribute to the development of the condition.

What causes lymphoma?

Lymphoma develops when the red blood cells grow abnormally. The average lifespan of lymphocyte cells is short. In people with lymphoma, the genes inside the cells change and cause them to spread.

However, it is still unclear what causes the gene or DNA mutation. Researchers believe that various factors can contribute to the development of the condition.

How is lymphoma treated?

The treatment generally depends on the type and stage of the lymphoma. Doctors generally recommend radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells. There are no specific diagnostic tests to detect lymphoma. The treatment may depend on the type, the stage when it is discovered, age, health condition of individuals, and a few other factors.