Lymphoma

Cancer of the lymphatic system is the cause of lymphoma.  Lymph nodes connected by blood vessels drain waste products and strain cancerous cells from the body.  When lymphocytes multiply uncontrollably,  lymphoma results.  There are two types of lymphoma, Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma separated by the type of cells seen in biopsy of an affected lymph node.  Specific treatment is available for each type of lymphoma. 

Causes

Some individuals have genetic diseases that predispose them to lymphoma including Down’s syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, and Klinefelter’s Disease.  If your immune system is suppressed with medication or illness you are more likely to get lymphoma.  When your immune system is affected by lupus, psoriasis, and chronic viral illnesses you are more likely to develop lymph node masses that may be the early signs of lymphoma. Nitrates in drinking water, high fats in your diet, radiation exposure, and some medications such as diphenylhydantoin are all associated with an increased risk of melanoma.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Fever, weight loss, night sweats, pain in the back or abdomen, and extreme fatigue are all sign of possible lymphoma.  Lymph node biopsy and analysis followed by a bone marrow exam is the usual way to approach diagnosis of this disease. 

Our body has a lymphoid system that interacts with lymph nodes to help the body fight infection.  When these lymph nodes enlarge and form solid masses, the diagnosis of lymphoma is considered by your physician.  Biopsy of an abnormal mass is often the way the illness is diagnosed.  Specific treatment is devised for each type of lymphoma.