About the disease
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer, which develops in lymphatic system and can spread to all parts of body. In this type of cancer tumor develops from lymphocytes, which are white blood cells. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs if person produces an abnormal amount of lymphocytes, which then begin to spread. Normally old lymphocytes die and new ones develop. During this disease old lymphocytes do not die, but begin to accumulate, creating swollen lymph nodes. Such abnormality can happen if person takes big amounts of immunosuppressants or if he had HIV virus, which increases the risk of non-Hodgkin`s lymphoma.
There are such types of this cancer as:
- B-cell lymphoma
- T-cell lymphoma
In the first type, tumor begins to grow in B-cells which are responsible for fighting infections and destroying dangerous foreign agents. In the second type lymphoma appears in T-cells which neutralize infections directly.
According to Cancer Research UK there are about 380 000 cases of this cancer reported annually in Europe. Usually this disease is diagnosed at late stage. Only in UK there were almost 4 800 deaths in 2014 because of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Good news is that mortality rate for this cancer is predicted to fall by 20% by 2035. Almost 63% survive from this disease if treated timely.
According to American cancer society, death cancer rates have been gradually decreasing since 1990s. Various statistics also state that more than 50% person of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma develop this disease after 65-67 years old.
- Swollen lymph nodes, which usually do not cause pain
- Pain in abdomen, chest
- Difficulty breathing
- The first method for diagnosing non-Hodgkin lymphoma is physical examination which assesses size of lymph nodes, extent of their swelling and discomfort they cause. Another indicator of lymphoma is enlarged liver and spleen which can swell because of excessive amount of white cells.
- Biopsy is the most precise diagnostic method during which doctor removes tissue of lymph nodes to determine if patient has lymphoma and which stage it is.
- In some cases symptoms of this disease can be deceiving. They may be simple indicators of virus or infection. To rule out this possibility, doctors require patients submit urine and blood tests.
- CT scan produces images of lymph nodes which can also indicate lymphoma.
- Chemotherapy (targeted therapy) is administered in case this disease becomes progressive. This type of treatment uses cytotoxic drugs that neutralize cancerous cells. In case of non-Hodgkin lymphoma chemotherapy is usually injected into veins in small doses. It is usually recommended in stages 3 and 4. In some cases chemotherapy drugs can be taken in form of tablets, which need to be taken regularly at home.
- Stem cell transplant is used after administration of high doses of chemotherapy when both malignant and healthy cells were killed and patient needs to have new healthy cells transplanted into his bone marrow. Later, these stem cells will transform into white and red blood cells, which will be spreading further to other parts of body. Before chemotherapy doctor usually takes patient`s healthy stem cells, which are then frozen and stored. After chemotherapy when there is a critical amount of healthy bone marrow stems doctors perform transplantation.
- Radiotherapy is usually used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. It administers high energy rays that can diminish cancerous cells. If person had stem cell transplant he may need to undergo full irradiation to kill remaining malignant cells in bone marrows. You may feel tired after the course of radiotherapy, but this feeling will wear off after completing the course. This treatment is especially beneficial for prevention of further metastases.
In conclusion, we need to say that combination of these treatment options will ensure your speedy recovery and bring you good results.