What is Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma?
Cancer of lymph tissue is referred as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymph tissues are generally found in lymph nodes, spleen and other organs that are part of our immune system. In the case of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the cancer starts in lymphocytes. The cancer of lymph nodes is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first studied about the cancer. There are different types of lymphoma that reacts and spreads differently. Doctors test the lymphomas under microscope and differentiate between them. If the symptoms of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma are detected in early stage then, it is easy to treat the condition.
Picture 1. Source – aboutcancer
Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
The conditions of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma have different signs and symptoms. The symptom of the disease varies according to the location of the lymphoma in body. In some cases, it has been noted that the symptoms were not detected until the lymphoma grows large. Listed below are the main signs and symptoms of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Enlargement of lymph nodes – Non-Hodgkin lymphoma causes the enlargement of lymph nodes that sometimes causes pain and irritation. If the enlargement of lymph nodes persists even after undergoing medication then, one must consult the doctors.
- Swollen Abdomen – It has been noted that abdomen of the patient suffering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma swells abnormally. These signs of the disease must not be ignored, and one must consult a physician to know the root cause of the problem.
- Chest pain and difficulty in breathing – The patients of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma often suffers from chest pain and experiences breathing problem. The breathing problem is common in Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Fever and weight loss – The patient suffering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma often suffers from frequent fever and weight loss. The patient also experiences a loss of appetite.
- Low blood count – It is one of the major symptoms of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. During the condition, blood count decreases because of a malfunction in lymphocytes.
- Headache, nausea, fatigue are the other symptoms related with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Picture 2 – Stage II NHL. Source – cancer.gov
Treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
There are various methods to treat of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Once the condition has been diagnosed then the team of doctors decides the way of treatment based on the stage and location of cancer. If the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is detected on early stage then, it is easy to treat the condition using surgery but if it is the last stage of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, then the treatment becomes difficult. Listed below are the ways of treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is the common way of treating cancerous cells in the body. In this procedure, the anti cancer drug is injected in the blood stream that reaches the cancer location and treats lymphoma. Chemotherapy is given at regular interval of time to suppress the carcinogenic cells. The dosage, length of treatment and type of drugs are based on the type and stage of lymphoma.
- Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is a type of treatment in which body’s immune system in boosted with the use of artificial immunity enhancer. Immunotherapy sometimes kills the lymphoma cells. In this therapy, antibodies are injected in the body to enhance the immune system to combat cancerous lymphocytes.
- Targeted drug therapy – In this type of treatment, doctors injects certain type of drugs in the body that targets specific sites to kill the cancerous lymphomas. In this treatment, doctors use various combinations of drugs and suppressors that suppress the growth of cancerous lymphomas.
- Radiation Therapy – In this type of treatment high energy rays are used to kill the cancer cells. The high energy rays from the machine enter the body and focuses on a specific location for a period of time. The procedure is painless and lasts few minutes. Sometimes doctors use a combination of chemo and radiation therapy to treat the patient in stage III. However, this treatment has some side effects such as change of skin color, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.
- Stem cell transplants – This type of treatment is used in those patients who have a relapse during or after the treatment. Sometimes the chemotherapy kills the cells in bone marrow that does not allow the formation of new cells. Thus the doctors perform stem cell transplantation to replace the dead cell in bone marrow.
Prognosis and Survival rate of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Chemotherapy is useful to treat low grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The low grade condition of non-Hodgkin lymphoma spreads slowly and takes years before it gets worse. The treatment in the condition of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is based on the appearance of symptoms and worsening of the disease. The general survival rate after the detection of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is five years. The patient with very slow growing lymphoma can survive even 10 years after the diagnosis of the disease. Aggressive lymphoma causes rapid deaths if they are not detected on time.
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