Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a deadly cancer which caused 104,407 people
to die in America from 2003 through 2007. In recent years, about 20,000 Americans died from this serious form of
cancer. Estimated new cases and
from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States in 2012 have
been 70,130 and 18,940 successively.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma affects the
lymphocytes which is a type of white blood cell. It
can occur at any age and are often marked by lymph nodes that are larger than normal,
fever, and weight loss. We will explore further details of
this disease and discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments typically used.
The cancer originates in
the lymphatic system which is an important part of the immune system. The lymphatic system helps to fight infections and also acts as a sort of
filter to screen out bacteria, viruses and other foreign or damaging substances.
This type of cancer can
begin in many places throughout the body because lymphatic tissue is so widespread.
As is typical with most
cancers, no one is exactly sure what causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
But a number of factors can put people at risk for developing the disease.
It has been found that
medications which suppress the immune system can pose a risk in developing the disease since it will lower the
ability of your body to fight infection. A weakened immune system
is also a key factor. Certain kinds of infections such as HIV,
hepatitis C, or Epstein-Barr virus can contribute to the risk of developing this disease.
It is important to note
that lymphoma is not contagious meaning that you cannot simply catch it from another person like a cold or the
flu. This disease can occur at times in younger people although it
is more commonly associated with older people who may have a weakened immune system and be in poorer health
Typical symptoms or signs
of non-Hodgkins lymphoma can include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin; sudden and unexpected
weight loss; persistent fever; night sweats; chest pain or trouble breathing; abdominal pain; and general and
If your Doctor suspects the
presence of this disease, the common ways to diagnose it include a physical exam with focus on examining the
lymphatic system; blood tests to measure the white blood cell level; and imaging procedures such as x-rays or CT
scan. A biopsy of the lymph nodes may be advisable to determine the
cause of their swelling.
The type of treatment used
for this disease usually depends a lot on the type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma involved. In addition the stage of the disease and the growth rate play a
part. In addition the age and health of the patient are important
factors as well.
For slow growing types
without symptoms, treatment may not be started right away. As long
as the patient is checked on periodically, no treatment may be necessary for years. But for more aggressive forms, chemotherapy or biological therapy may be
implemented. Other types may require radiation therapy and possibly
a stem cell transplant to repair the healthy cells otherwise damaged by the procedure.
There are new drugs which
have been effective and improved treatments are being introduced regularly. Through these developments, it is hoped that the outlook and survival rate for
the sufferers of this disease will continue to improve.