Cancer found in your lymph system may have formed elsewhere and spread there, or developed within the system itself. Lymph cancer, or lymphoma, refers to a class of blood cancer that is spawned in your lymphatic system, either in its tissue (Hodgkins) or lymph white blood cells (non Hodgkins).
Your lymph system is expansive, and has lymphatic tissue and cells in your:
There are two main types of lymphoma cancers, Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s disease. Hodgkin is the rarest, accounting for a little over 10% of lymph cancer cases. Non Hodgkin accounts for the rest, involving various kinds of lymphomas within this group.
Hodgkins disease is a type of lymphoma marked by the presence of specific malignant cells (Reed-Sternberg cells) in your lymph nodes or other lymphatic tissue. Symptoms for this cancer include:
- itchy skin
- weight loss
- night sweats
- loss of appetite
- pain-free lymph node swelling
In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, there is malignant growth of specific types of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are immune system white blood cells that play an integral role in defending your body against infections and diseases.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas arises when your T or B white blood cells become abnormal. These aberrant cells can divide and spread to just about anywhere in your body.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma causes several symptoms, like:
- chest pain
- trouble breathing
- drenching night sweats
- unexplained weight loss
- chronic weakness, tiredness
- swollen, painless lymph nodes
- abdominal pain, swelling, fullness feeling
In many early discovered cases, Hodgkin’s disease and non Hodgkins lymphoma are given a “can be cured” prognosis.
A common symptom for both types of lymphomas is swollen lymph nodes. The most common cause for sudden, painful lymph swelling is an infection. Cancer caused lymph enlargement is usually painless and gradual.
Preserve your health and pay your doctor a visit anytime you notice a lymph gland that is leisurely growing, especially if you are also experiencing a fever and weight loss.
In the News: A recent study revealed that the prevalence of mantle cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is increasing. Most being diagnosed with advanced stages, and it has the poorest prognosis of all lymphomas.