The lymph system is a tubular structure branching out to all the parts of the body and is vital to fight infections. Lymph is a colorless fluid that contains white blood cells (lymphocytes) and is carried by the lymph system.
There are various types of lymphoma cancers and hence, answering a question, how to diagnose and treat lymphoma is a great challenge. The most common type of lymphoma and the term that is used interchangeably is Hodgkins disease and the rest of the types are known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Although, there are several symptoms of lymphoma cancer, but they may be similar to any other illness, making it difficult to suspect the diagnosis of lymphoma.
Some symptoms are:
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Fatigue feeling
- Weight loss
- Recurrent fever
- Night sweats
Once a patient experiences symptoms, he/she may consult a physician, who may carry out the diagnostic procedure to confirm the disease. The diagnosis will be based upon:
- Thorough physical examination of the patient
- Inquiry about the complete personal and family history
- Physically examining the lymph nodes for any abnormalities present
- Biopsy test to confirm about the malignancy present in the lymph nodes
- Chest x-ray to verify any enlargement of the lymph nodes in the chest
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) or Computer Tomography (CT) scan
- Ultrasound examination
After the diagnosis is done and the lymphoma cancer is confirmed, then the patient may further undergo a few tests to detect the exact stage of the disease.
- Radiation Therapy – Powerful x-rays or any such radiations may be used to treat the lymphoma cancer. The radiations are directed to kill the abnormal cancerous cells either by internal or external radiation therapy. However, pregnant women are not eligible for radiation therapy until delivery.
- Chemotherapy – This therapy uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy the malignant cells in the lymph system. The therapy may be administered through mouth, intravenously or placing directly into the cerebrospinal fluid. Although, chemotherapy may be observed in pregnant women, close watch is required to see any danger to the fetus.
- Vaccine Therapy – This is a new treatment technique used to treat lymphoma. This technique aims at strengthening body’s immunity to fight the cancerous cells. The medications used are directed to restore the immune system and boost its defense against the malignancies.
- High-dose chemotherapy in combination with stem cell transplant is another treatment option lately being considered. The technique is to replace the destroyed blood-forming stem cells in the patient with the donor stem cells.
Lymphoma cancer is type of cancer that affects the lymph system of the body. There are around 35 and more types of this cancer. Hence, how to diagnose and treat lymphoma cancer is a challenge for medical professionals. Like any other cancer, early detection and prompt treatment are vital.
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