Introduction To Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells (lymphocytes). It affects the lymphatic system, a network of tissues and organs that help the body get rid of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. The system includes the thymus gland, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes. There are mainly two types of Lymphoma:

  1. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

  2. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma

It is a type of cancer that develops due to abnormal growth of cells in the lymphatic system and may spread beyond the system. Cancer can start from anywhere in the body. However, most often Hodgkin’s lymphoma starts in the lymph nodes in the upper part of the body such as the chest, neck, and arms.

As the disease progresses, cancer can spread into other parts of the body such as the lungs, liver, and/or bone marrow.

Signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Few signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are:

  • Night sweats

  • Fever and chills

  • Loss of appetite

  • Itching

  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Sudden weight loss

Risk factors of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Few risk factors that can increase your chance of developing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are:

  • Family history of lymphoma

Having a close family member who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma can increase your risk of developing cancer.

  • Gender

Men are slightly more at risk of developing cancer than women.

  • Age

The cancer is most often diagnosed in people between the age of 15 and 30, as well as older than 55.

  • Epstein-Barr virus infection

People who have had illnesses caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, such as mononucleosis, are more at risk of developing cancer.

  • A weakened immune system

A weakened immune system can increase the risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the lymphocytes, an infection-fighting network spread throughout the body. It is the most common type of lymphoma. There are many subtypes of cancer, of which the most common are diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma.

Signs and symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Few signs and symptoms associated with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are:

  • Chest pain, coughing, or swelling

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Weight loss

  • Abdominal pain or swelling

  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the armpits, groin or neck

Risk factors of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Few risk factors that can increase your chance of developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are:

  • Age

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can occur at any age. However, it is most common in people in their 60s or older.

  • Exposure to certain chemicals

Studies suggest that certain chemicals that kill insects and weeds can increase the risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

  • Gender

Men are more at risk of developing cancer than women. However, there are some sub-types that are more common in women.

  • Infection with certain viruses and bacteria

There are certain bacterial and viral infections – such as HIV and Epstein-Barr virus – that can increase the risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

  • Medication that suppresses the immune system

People who have received an organ transplant and treated with medication to suppress their immune system such as immunosuppressive therapy, are at a higher risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

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