Lymphoma Cancer Faqs

Lymphoma cancer has become wide spread with more patients being diagnosed with this cancer. These frequently asked questions are an attempt to shed some more light on what lymphoma is about and how it affects the patient. More information should be sought from the GP.

Q. What is lymphoma cancer?

A. Lymphoma cancer is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is the immune system in the body.  It occurs when abnormal cells (also known as cancerous cells) begin to reproduce in the immune system and start to harm the body.

Q. What types of lymphoma cancer are there?

A. Cancer is a medical term given to diseases of the cell and can refer to a wide group of such diseases.  In the same way, lymphoma cancer is also used to refer to several types of cancers of the lymphatic system.  However, there are two basic types lymphoma cancer: Hodgkin's lymphoma which is most often found in teens and young adults; and non Hodgkin's lymphoma which is more prevalent among adults aged 55 years and above.

Q. What are the symptoms of lymphoma?

A. There are several symptoms associated with lymphoma cancer. These include swelling of the lymph nodes, which can be found on the neck, the armpit or the groin among other places, nausea, unexplained weight loss, night sweats and coughing, chest pain or trouble breathing.  It is possible to have these symptoms without having lymphoma cancer but lymphoma creeps upon a person and early detection is a great step to curing.  This is why regular check-ups with the GP are advised.

Q. Who is most at risk of lymphoma cancer?

A. Generally, there is no known cause of lymphoma cancer however there are certain risk factors which might increase the incidence of the cancer.  These include a weakened immune system which could be as a result of an inherited state, the use of certain drugs or the effects of an organ transplant.

Another risk factor is those with some types of viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  People with these conditions are at an increased risk of getting Hodgkin's lymphoma.  The age of a person and the family history are also factors to consider.

Q. What are the treatments?

A. Treatments vary and the type of treatment used would depend on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer and the age of the patient.  Some of the more popular treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy – the use of drugs or chemicals to fight the cancer cells.  This often has the effect of destroying a few good cells along the way.

  • Radiotherapy – this involves the use of radiation to fight cancer cells.  It could either be internal or external radiation.

  • Cancer Surgery – although there is surgery to remove the cancerous cells or a tumour, for lymphoma cancer, surgery usually means the removal of swollen lymph nodes so as to find out more about the possibility of lymphoma.

There are other treatment options which include the use of monocular antibodies, stem cell transplant and bone marrow transplant.  Not to mention natural remedies.

Q. Are there any side effects to lymphoma cancer treatment?

A. Each of these treatments types has their side effects even though some are not as tedious as others.  Chemotherapy and radiotherapy for instance have the effect of causing hair loss, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and even infertility in some cases.

If you have any more questions regarding lymphoma cancer, be sure to see your GP.

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