Lymphatic cancer or Lymphoma is also called the cancer of the immune system.
It is the seventh most common form of cancer in the UK.
In UK there are thousands of new cases of Lymphatic cancer or lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease every year and it is most likely to be diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.
Unknown Cause! The cause of the disease is unknown, but there is some evidence that it may be caused by the same virus that causes glandular fever.
As the disease involves the lymphatic system, a system of glands (lymph nodes) and vessels that run throughout the body manufacturing and circulating lymph and other components of the immune system, it is called the lymphatic cancer or lymphoma. The lymph is a pale fluid through which white blood cells travel.
There are two main divisions of lymphatic cancer or lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Both of them are distinguished by the different types of white blood cells that they affect.
Symptoms are similar but affect different sections of the population and have different outcomes. Hodgkin’s disease is considered as a disease of young and middle-aged adults. Good News! It is largely curable with treatment.
Around 85 percent of all lymphatic cancers or lymphomas are of the NHL type. Cancerous or malignant lymphocytes multiply uncontrollably impairing normal cell function and the body’s ability to fight infection in NHL. The antibody-forming cells of the body B lymphocytes (B cells) are the sites of origin of NHL.
How to detect? One or more of the lymph nodes becomes enlarged or feels hard, this is the most common sign of lymphatic cancer.
If there are only a small number of cells in the lymph nodes, nothing abnormal may be noticed, they may feel quite normal, and it is only possible to tell that a cancer is present by removing part or the entire portion of the lymph node and examining the cells under the microscope.
However, it is important to remember that some other infections may also be a reason for enlargement of lymph nodes.
Lymphatic Cancer not only affects the lymph glands but also may be hidden in the deeper parts of the body. To select a proper kind of treatment the doctor will want to know whether these lymph glands or nodes are involved. Common tests include:
- CT Scan – a special whole body scan
- Removal of an affected gland for investigation.
- A bone marrow sample – taken from the back of the hip bone.
A sign that there is a secondary cancer in the lymph nodes is that sometimes a lymph node, or group of nodes, may appear larger than they should be on a scan, such as an ultrasound scan, CT scan or MRI scan.
Because the lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system, patients with weakened immune system, such as from HIV infection or from certain drugs or medication, also have a higher incidence of lymphatic cancer.
So now you know what lymphatic cancer is all about. You should be very careful in its early detection for the best possible treatment to be given.