Cancer is characterized based on the site of infection and when the immune system is affected particularly the B cells to become abnormal cells termed Reed-Sternberg cell, the cancer is called Hodgkin lymphoma
The lymphatic system is much like the circulatory system and occurs along various parts of the body to capture blood borne antigens likewise Hodgkin lymphoma can start at any lymph node The abnormal Reed-Sternberg cell divides to make copies of itself which continue to divide and infect other cells exponentially. These cells lose their protective function and result in formation of tumor.
Know the Stats!
Estimated new cases and deaths from Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States in 2012:
- New cases: 9,060
- Deaths: 1,190
What are the types of Hodgkin Lymphoma?
There are two major types of Hodgkin lymphoma
- Classical Hodgkin lymphoma: Most people with Hodgkin lymphoma have the classical type which infects the B cells. The Reed-Sternberg cell looks like the pic below
- Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma: This is a rare type of Hodgkin lymphoma. The abnormal cell is called a popcorn cell. It may be treated differently from the classical type
HOW IS HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA CAUSED?
The risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include the following:
1) Onco- viruses: Certain viruses like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or certain retroviruses may increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
2) Weakened immune system: A weak immune system or autoimmune diseases are known to increase risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma
3) Age: Hodgkin lymphoma is most common among teens and adults aged 15 to 35 years and adults aged 55 years and older.
4) Family history: Family members, especially brothers and sisters, of a person with Hodgkin lymphoma or other lymphomas may have an increased chance of developing this disease.
5) Genetic predisposition: Certain risk genes identified are known to decrease the activity of P53
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS TO LOOK FOR? (SYMPTOMS)
- Fever and chills that come and go
- Itching all over the body that cannot be explained
- Loss of appetite
- Soaking night sweats
- Painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin (swollen glands)
- Weight loss that cannot be explained
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
- Coughing, chest pains, or breathing problems if there are swollen lymph nodes in the chest
- Excessive sweating
- Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs due to swollen spleen or liver
- Pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
- Skin blushing or flushing
HOW DO YOU FIND OUT HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA?
If you have swollen lymph nodes or another symptom that suggests Hodgkin lymphoma, you may need to undergo any of the below tests
- Physical exam: It involves checking and observation for swollen lymph nodes in your neck, underarms, and groin. It also may involve checks for a swollen spleen or liver.
- Blood tests: The lab does a complete blood count to check the number of white blood cells and other cells and substances.
- Chest x-rays: X-ray pictures may show swollen lymph nodes or other signs of disease in your chest.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose Hodgkin lymphoma. Your doctor may remove an entire lymph node (excisional biopsy) or only part of a lymph node (incisional biopsy). Removing an entire lymph node is best recommended. Later microscope is used to check the tissue for Hodgkin lymphoma cells.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill lymphoma cells. Chemotherapy drugs travel through your bloodstream and can reach nearly all areas of your body.
Chemotherapy is often combined with radiation therapy in people with early-stage classical type Hodgkin’s lymphoma followed by radiation therapy.. In advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chemotherapy may be used alone or combined with radiation therapy.
Several combinations of chemotherapy drugs are used to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. For classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma, radiation therapy can be used alone, but it is often used after chemotherapy. People with early-stage lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma typically undergo radiation therapy alone.
Stem cell transplant
A stem cell transplant is a treatment to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells that help you grow new bone marrow. A stem cell transplant may be an option if Hodgkin’s lymphoma returns despite treatment.
During a stem cell transplant, your own blood stem cells are removed, frozen and stored for later use. Next you receive high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy to destroy cancerous cells in your body. Finally your stem cells are thawed and injected into your body through your veins. The stem cells help to build healthy bone marrow.
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