Lymphoma – Non-Hodgkin
About the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is made up of narrow tubes and clusters of tiny bean-shaped structures called lymph nodes that are found all over the body. The belly, groyne, pelvis, chest, underarms, and neck have the biggest groupings of lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system transports lymph, a colourless fluid containing lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell. Lymphocytes are immune cells that aid in the fight against pathogens in the body. Types of lymphocytes include:
Other parts of the lymphatic system include the:
About non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a term used to describe a category of lymphatic malignancies. These malignancies have a variety of symptoms and indications, as well as physical examination results and therapies.
Because lymphatic tissue may be found in nearly every portion of the body, NHL can begin practically anywhere and spread to almost every organ. The lymph nodes, liver, spleen, or bone marrow are frequently affected. The stomach, intestines, skin, thyroid gland, brain, or any other organ of the body might all be affected.
The specific aetiology of NHL is unknown, and most people who are afflicted with the disease will never know. The following factors, on the other hand, may increase a person’s chances of developing NHL:
Age: The risk of NHL grows as you become older. People in their 60s and 70s are more likely to develop the most frequent subtypes.
Gender: Men are somewhat more likely than women to develop NHL.
Infections caused by bacteria: Specific infections are linked to certain forms of NHL. For example, an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is suspected to be the cause of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma of the stomach. If this lymphoma is detected early enough, it may disappear if the infection is treated with antibiotics. Other kinds of MALT lymphoma, such as those affecting the lungs, tear glands, and skin, can be caused by infections.
Viruses : Some kinds of NHL are caused by viruses. Mononucleosis, popularly known as “mono,” is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is linked to several forms of NHL. Burkitt lymphoma, lymphomas that develop after an organ transplant, and, in rare cases, other lymphomas in apparently healthy patients are among them.
Disorders of the immune system : HIV/AIDS and other immune system problems enhance the incidence of NHL, particularly severe B-cell lymphomas.
Autoimmune diseases : People who have autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren syndrome, are more likely to acquire specific kinds of NHL. Some autoimmune illness medications may raise the risk of NHL.
Transplantation of organs : Organ transplant patients are more likely to develop NHL. This is due to the medications patients must take to suppress immune system function and protect the transplanted organ from rejection.
Chemical exposure : Certain substances have been linked to an increased risk of NHL. Pesticides, herbicides (such as Agent Orange), and petrochemicals are examples of such substances.
Genetic factors : There are currently no widely acknowledged genetic tests that consistently predict a person’s chance of developing NHL or identify hereditary risk factors for NHL. These potential hazards are being investigated in ongoing clinical research.
Vaccines : The link between vaccines and lymphoma is still uncertain and contentious. Several studies have discovered a link between Bacillus Calmette–Guerin (BCG) immunization and an increased risk of NHL. BCG is a TB vaccination that is used to treat some forms of bladder cancer. However, studies have linked other vaccines, such as those for smallpox, cholera, yellow fever, influenza, measles, tetanus, and polio to a lower risk of NHL.
Breast implants : Breast implants can raise the chance of developing breast lymphoma.
Exposure to ionizing radiation : This includes radiation exposure from atomic bombs, nuclear reactor accidents, and medical radiation therapy.
Diet/weight : Obesity and a diet high in fatty foods or red meat may raise the risk of lymphoma marginally, according to some inconclusive research.
There are very few alterations or symptoms unique to lymphoma. This explains why it might be difficult to make a diagnosis at times. The symptoms of NHL vary depending on where the cancer began and which organ is affected.
Examples of symptoms related to a specific tumor location:
There are 4 main treatments for NHL:
Often, patients receive a combination of these treatments. Occasionally, the doctor and patient may also consider surgery or bone marrow/stem cell transplantation.
Chemotherapy : Chemotherapy is the use of medications to eradicate cancer cells, often by preventing cancer cells from growing, dividing, and proliferating. It is the primary therapy for NHL.
Immunotherapy : Immunotherapy, also known as biologic treatment, is intended to increase the body’s natural defences against cancer. Modified T cells and checkpoint inhibitors are examples of lymphoma therapy in this area. It employs anti-lymphoma methods in order to enhance, target, or restore immune system activity.
Targeted therapy : Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer development and survival. This sort of therapy inhibits cancer cell development and spread while protecting healthy cells.
Radiation treatment : The use of high-energy x-rays, electrons, or protons to eliminate cancer cells is known as radiation therapy. A radiation oncologist is a doctor who specialises in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer. External-beam radiation therapy, which delivers radiation from a machine outside the body, is commonly used to treat NHL.
Radiation treatment : A bone marrow transplant is a medical operation that involves the use of bone marrow or peripheral blood cells that include highly specialized cells known as hematopoietic stem cells as part of a treatment plan. Hematopoietic stem cells are blood-forming cells that may be found in the blood and bone marrow. This is often referred to as a stem cell transplant or hematopoietic stem cell transplant.