Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are cells located mostly in the white blood cells, the lymphoid tissues and the lymph nodes of a person. Where a person is afflicted with lymphoma, the lymphocytes grow abnormally and concentrate mostly on the lymph nodes. As the lymphocytes crowd along the lymph nodes, this causes inflation. An inflamed lymph node is usually one of the first signs a person would feel when he or she is afflicted with lymphoma.
Other signs that the person may have lymphoma are a systemic symptom involving low-grade fever, weight loss, fatigue, itchy skin and night sweating. However, always bear in mind that having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have lymphoma. The symptoms mentioned earlier are common symptoms for other forms of disease like infections. Before you jump into any conclusions, it is always advisable to seek professional advice.
There are many types of lymphoma. These types of lymphoma have different characteristics and behavior. However, for purposes of classification, this type of disease is divided into two main classifications, the Hodgkins lymphoma and the Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
The term Hodgkins lymphoma is coined after the scientist Thomas Hodgkins which discovered the disease in 1832. Since the discovery made by Hodgkins in 1832, there have been other studies conducted about the disease, which resulted in discoveries of around 30 other types of lymphoma. The later discoveries of different types of lymphoma are collectively classified as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Like all other types of cancer, lymphoma is graded according to the degree of its spread in the human body. There are four stages of lymphoma is a human body and each stage is further categorized as A or B. The significance of the further classification of the lymphoma lies on the symptoms that the patient usually feels.
In staging the disease, the patient will need to undergo a series of test to determine the status of the lymphoma. The process includes test and procedures such a the documentation of their histology, a physical examination, chest X-ray, blood tests, CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scans of the persons chest, abdomen and pelvis and a bone marrow biopsy.
It is important that the patient should undergo a series of test to determine the location of the lymphoma. It must be noted that lymphoma is a type of cancer that is mobile in nature. It attacks the lymphocytes found in the white bloods cells. Remember that your white blood cells have access to all parts of your body therefore the cancer could hit anywhere in your system.
This is the reason why lymphoma is considered a systemic disease, which could affect all parts of the body and not just in some isolated parts. There are many instances when lymphoma could be found in more than one location of the body which makes it imperative to conduct a comprehensive test to make sure that you and your cancer management team does not miss any malignant cell lurking and eating up your healthy cells.