Lymph cancer or lymphoma cancer is the uncontrolled growth of the body's defense cells, lymphocytes, by disrupting them with cancer cells. The most common places of lymph cancer; lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are one of the body's most important defense mechanisms.
Thousands of lymph nodes in our body are the most important part of the immune system that allows us to resist infections and diseases. Lymph nodes enlarge during infections.
When the disease ends, it returns to its former dimensions. This is an indication of a perfectly normal mechanism. When lymphoma occurs, lymphocytes, the cells of the lymphatic system, break down and multiply, creating more abnormal cells.
Lymphomas are basically examined in two groups as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin (non-Hodgkin). Although the symptoms of both may be similar, the type of lymphoma is decided according to a number of special cells that can be found in the examinations. Although its causes have not yet been fully determined, Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in men than in women. It is more common especially in the 15-34 age range, which is called young adulthood, and 55 years and older.
It is very important to determine the type of lymphoma in order to determine the treatment options.
Lymph Cancer Symptoms
Although different symptoms can occur in many different types of lymphomas, some of them are as follows:
- Painless, enlarging and proliferating lymph nodes
- fever of unknown origin,
- unexplained weight loss
- uncomfortable night sweats,
- Constant tiredness,
- Cough, breathing problem and chest pain,
- Abdominal swelling, bloating, feeling of fullness or pain,
Having the above symptoms in a person does not necessarily mean that that person has lymphoma. Microbial diseases and other health problems can also cause these findings. However, if the symptoms do not improve within two weeks, it is useful to consult a doctor and investigate the cause.
Lymph Cancer / Lymphoma Risk Factors
- Family history
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection
- HIV infection
- EBV infection
- HIV infection
- HTLV (human T-cell leukemia virus) infection
- Helicobacter Pylori infection
- HHV-8 (human herpes virus type 8) infection
- hepatitis C virus infection
- Chemicals used in pesticides and heating-cooling industry
- Chemotherapy drugs used to treat certain cancers
- Some genetic diseases such as Kleinefelter, Chediak-Higashi syndromes
Some rheumatological diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome, celiac disease, systemic lupus
However, having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that they will have lymphoma. While some individuals with many risk factors may not develop lymphoma for years, it is possible to develop lymphoma in individuals without risk factors. While some individuals with many risk factors may not develop lymphoma for years, it is possible to develop lymphoma in individuals without risk factors.
If an enlarged lymph node and other symptoms indicate lymphoma, a detailed physical examination is performed after the individual's disease and family history is taken. The neck, armpit, elbow, groin and pit behind the knee are examined for the presence of enlarged lymph nodes. At the same time, the spleen and liver can also be examined for possible enlargement. Then, some tests that can be done to confirm the diagnosis and detect the spread of the cancer are as follows:
Blood Tests: Complete blood count and biochemical examinations (such as LDH, uric acid).
Chest X-ray: Possible lymph node size and other problems are being investigated.
Biopsy: The enlarged lymph node must be partially or, if possible, completely removed. Since needle biopsies are generally unlikely to yield a healthy result, if lymphoma is suspected, the entire lymph node must be examined by a pathologist if this is not possible. Bone marrow biopsy can also be performed to determine the extent of the disease.
Computed Tomography: Neck, lung and entire abdomen can be examined in detail with computed tomography.
Can Lymphoma Cancer Be Cured?
Among the factors affecting the treatment decision in lymphoma; The type of lymphoma, the stage of the disease, the rate of growth and spread, the age of the patient, and other health problems of the patient can be counted.
In some types of lymphomas that progress slowly and have no symptoms, the patient is checked at regular intervals for the progression of the disease, the appearance of symptoms and the need for treatment. In slow-progressing lymphomas with symptoms; chemotherapy, biological treatments (monoclonal antibodies) and radiotherapy can be used.
Chemotherapy and biological (monoclonal antibodies) treatments are generally preferred in the treatment of rapidly progressing lymphoma. If necessary, radiotherapy can be added to the treatment.
The treatment modalities used in cases where the disease is resistant to treatment or when the disease recurs after treatment; chemotherapy, biological therapies, radiotherapy, high-dose therapy and stem cell or bone marrow transplants and Car T Cell therapy. Car-T Cell therapy is currently an approved treatment for B-cell Lymphoma. This type of treatment is based on transforming our immune system cells, which do not recognize cancer, into cells that recognize and fight cancer, by changing the genetics of T cells, the main element of our cellular immune system.
After lymphoma treatment is completed, patients are kept under close follow-up for up to 2 years, more frequently in the first 5 years, for the possibility of recurrence.
Lifestyle changes such as avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and alcohol, regular exercise and consuming healthy foods are recommended for prevention of lymphomas.