What is non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin's is cancer of the lymph tissue. It develops from cells within the lymphatic system (part of the body's immune system), these are called lymphocytes, causing them to fail. Lymphocytes are a vital type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin.
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest pain, coughing, or trouble breathing.
- Fatigue, fever.
- Night sweats & weight loss.
Possible Risk Factors
- Individuals over 60 years of age age diagnosed more often with NHL.
- Males have a slightly greater chance of developing the disease.
- NHL is more common in Caucasians than most races.
- Exposure to certain chemicals (i.e. pesticides, fertilizers, etc.)
- Scientists aren't sure what the main cause for NHL is, although these factors have been found to increase the risk of acquiring the disease.
- Although many cancers may be inherited, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is not one of them. In other words, there is no increased risk of lymphoma in the children of individual's with the disease.
As far as treatments go, there are many routes to take for non-Hodgkin's. The main types of treatment are chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and biological therapy. Some individuals may have surgery or a stem cell transplant to increase the chance of a cure. Healthier lifestyles can also increase patients of non-Hodgkin's chances.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is normally diagnosed through tests and procedures, such as a physical examination. In some cases, biopsies are used. There are dozens of different biopsies that may be exercised in these situations. Lastly, basically every scan you can think of may be used in order to diagnose a patient with NHL, including a CT scan, MRI, PET scan, bone scan, etc. Ultrasounds and a chest X-ray may also be used.
Non-Hodgkin's isn't designated to just one race or gender, really anybody can have it. Although NHL is more common in adults (as it is the 6th most common adult cancer), there have been quite a few children that have acquired the disease. 60% of cases are diagnosed in individual's 65 and older, and overall, NHL is slightly more common in men than women.