What is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system –the part of the body that fights off diseases and illnesses. It develops in the lymph nodes and affects the white blood cells. “Lymphoma” refers to cancer that starts in the lymph tissue. The difference between Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is that Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has an abnormal cell known as the Reed-Sternberg cell, whereas non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma does not.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can be found virtually anywhere in the body where there is blood. Certain chemicals or “carcinogens” can cause cell division and the growth of bad cancerous cells. Treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem-cell transplant, or medications. It may or may not be curable, depending upon the subtype and stage of cancer. Subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma include:
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
- Large Diffuse B-Cell Lymphoma
- Follicular Lymphoma
- Mantle Cell Lymphoma
- Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
- Anaplastic T-Cell
- Cutaneous T-Cell
Signs of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
In its early stages, many people have no symptoms from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As it develops into the latter stages III and IV, symptoms are more likely to occur. The symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin
- Persistent fatigue
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
- Excessive/severe night sweats
- Unintended weight loss
Type A non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma refers to an absence of symptoms whereas type B refers to symptomatic non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
If you suspect you may have non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, you have treatment options. The first step is to see your medical professional and get tested. This may require a biopsy of the lymph nodes. Once you have been diagnosed, the treatment options your doctor should discuss with you may include any or all of the following:
- None may be an option in the early stages
- Pharmaceutical treatment plans
- Bone marrow transplant
- Radiation therapy
Causes of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The exact cause of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is not known. Certain genes (oncogenes) regulate when cells grow and divide. Other genes (tumor suppressor genes) help keep cell division under control. When DNA is mutated, uncontrolled cell division may occur resulting in cancer formation.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma does not appear to be hereditary. People who are at higher risk are persons who have the following:
- Used immunosuppressant drugs (to reduce the body’s rejection of a transplanted organ)
- Epstein-Barr virus a/k/a Human Herpesvirus 4
- H pylori
- Exposure to certain insecticides
- Exposure to certain herbicides
Talk to a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Lawyer
If you have developed non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma following long-term or excessive exposure to insecticides or herbicides such as Roundup in your work, contact a non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Lawyer today to discuss your options. Call us at (713) 932-0777.