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Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer that occurs when the white blood cells that create a part of the immune system, B or T lymphocytes, divide much faster than normal or live longer then theyre supposed to. These abnormal changes often lead to the development of large masses otherwise known as tumors. Lymphoma is a part of a larger group of diseases known as hematological neoplasms where tumors grow in the lymph nodes and appear as solid masses throughout the body.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications of Lymphoma

A change in the cells of the lymphatic system contributes to the development of Lymphoma. This abnormal change can cause cells to grow in a dangerous fashion. In Hodgkins Lymphoma, it is more common for the abnormally-growing cells to spread beyond the lymphatic system into other body systems. As Lymphoma spreads, it seriously compromises the bodys ability to fight off infection.

Because lymph tissue exists throughout the body, it is easy for it to travel to other systems and major organs in the body quickly. A tumor can take over the space around the tissues as well, which keeps them from utilizing oxygen and nutrients. The greatest complication associated with Lymphoma is a dangerous attack on the immune system, which makes the body more susceptible to other illnesses and diseases. As the cancer progresses, it is increasingly difficult for the body to fight off any illness, which can lead to serious harm. Seeking treatment for Lymphoma as soon as the problem is diagnosed is absolutely essential.

Signs, Symptoms and Tests of Lymphoma

Lymphoma typically presents itself with swelling in the lymph nodes, persistent fatigue and symptoms resembling the flu. These can include: chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, itching, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, night sweats, chills and fever. Lymphoma may also cause an increased sensitivity to alcohol or a feeling of pain in the lymph nodes upon drinking alcohol.

The first test a physician will recommend during diagnosis is a physical exam especially concerning examination of the lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes are swollen or inflamed, the physician will want to investigate this first. Next, a physician will utilize blood tests, imagining tests such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan and PET scans to look at the lymph nodes in search of tumors. A physician may recommend minor surgery or a biopsy in order to remove a piece of the swollen lymph node for testing. Upon diagnosing Lymphoma, a physician will next want to stage the cancer to determine how advanced it is.

Treatment, Drugs and Prevention of Lymphoma

The proper treatment option for Lymphoma will depend on the stage of the cancer diagnosed and how far it has progressed in the body. A physician will create a custom solution to treating the cancer, which may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplant. If the Lymphoma is in an early stage, then surgical removal of the lymph node may suffice in order to remove all traces of cancer. Typically however, a physician will recommend a combination of surgical removal therapy and other forms of treatment for the best results.