The term lymphoma refers to a varied group of diseases that range from slow-growing chronic disorders to rapidly evolving, acute conditions. There are generally two classifications of lymphoma - Hodgkin's disease, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas which include all other types besides Hodgkins disease.
Hodgkin's disease tends to spread from one cluster of lymph nodes to the next. It usually starts in lymph nodes in the neck or just under the collarbone; spreads into the other nodes later as the disease progresses.
There has been a very good success rate in curing Hodgkin's disease, especially if it is treated early. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are typically more difficult to cure and can normally be controlled for a period of time.
The cause of Hodgkin's disease is unknown. There may be a genetic link. Some researchers have indicated a virus may be the cause.
Doctors do not know how to detect lymphoma before it starts causing symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin usually indicate its presence.
Doctors can perform blood or urine tests to determine if the disease is present. And if cancer is found, further testing can determine how widespread it is.
Radiation and chemotherapy are the treatments that are usually used for this type of cancer and have proven to be very successful in eradicating and stopping the disease from spreading.
Since success depends on high doses of toxic drugs and radiation, treatment frequently results in unpleasant side effects and can cause residual complications such as infertility.
People who are now in remission should have regular check ups with their doctor.
The standard treatment for lymphoma - radiation and drugs can do damage to the immune system. There are benefits in also seeing a naturopath who can advise on alternative relief as well as techniques to build up the immune system again.
Rest, relaxation, and good nutrition are the basis of good health.
The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, and vulnerability to infection. Your doctor can prescribe medication to address some of these problems. But you can do a number of things to relieve symptoms
Nobody knows enough about lymphoma to be able to suggest what to do to prevent it. However, by staying as healthy as possible may reduce your risk for cancer in general. Standard advice includes eating a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight in check, trying to reduce stress, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. All these measures contribute to healthy immune function.
When to seek further professional advice