Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma can be defined as the proliferation of cancerous cells in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is like a network that spreads throughout the body and primarily shields the body against pathogens and helps in getting rid of them. Being a type of lymphatic cancer, the Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually originates in the white blood cells or lymphocytes. Also Read: Lymphoma: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is more common than the Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL), where the main difference is the presence of a type of abnormal cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell and the different treatment options.
Although the exact cause of NHL is yet to be discovered, many researches show that it might happen due to a weakened immune system. Usually, lymphocytes have a proper life cycle, but in this case, the abnormal lymphocytes grow and divide without perishing which leads to the accumulation of these abnormal cells causing tumorous growths. Also Read: Swollen Lymph Nodes Could Be A Sign Of Cancer
NHL further exists in the following forms:
A type of lymphoma that can be classified as T-cell lymphoma or (less commonly) B-cell lymphoma and usually happens in the skin.
This type of lymphoma has a characteristic growth pattern when viewed under the, microscope which can be follicular or nodular type.
A rare type of NHL that usually has a slower growth rate.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma:
A common type of NHL that almost accounts to 30% of cases and can be extremely lethal if not treated on time.
This type of lymphoma has 2 subtypes, one related to the Epstein-Barr virus and the other related to spores.
MALT (Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue) Lymphoma:
Occurring in individuals in their 60’s, this type of cancer can be seen in the stomach.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma:
A rare form of NHL that accounts for up to 6% of cases and is quite arduous to treat.
Adult T-Cell Lymphoma/Leukaemia:
An aggressive form of NHL, the risk of which is closely related to the Human T-cell leukaemia/lymphotropic virus type (HTLV-1).
A rare form of lymphoma that accounts for about 2% of the NHL cases
Certain factors that increase the risk of getting NHL include:
Age: Commonly diagnosed in people in their 60’s.
Medications: Immunosuppressive therapy after an organ transplant increases the risk of this infection.
Chemicals: Formulations used to kill insects and pests may lead to NHL.
Infections: Infections such as HIV and Epstein-Barr infection aggravate the risk of NHL.
The common signs and symptoms of NHL include:
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Chest pain
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Loss Of Appetite
- General Debility
Consult a doctor immediately if you detect any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms. The specialized doctor or urologist first does a thorough physical examination by analysing any swollen lymph nodes, including the neck, underarm and groin, as well as for a swollen spleen or liver. Other diagnostics include:
- Blood and Urine Test
- Lymph Node Test
- Bone Marrow Test
- Imaging techniques like X-ray, CT, MRI and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
The treatment options usually depend upon the type and stage of cancer and include:
- Bone marrow transplant
- Radiation Therapy
- Clinical Trials