Lymphomas are an uncommon group of malignancies that are often
quite sensitive to treatment. Depending on the extent of the disease and the type of lymphoma, a hopeful outcome is often
Lymphomas are malignancies of the lymphatic system; they are categorized as being Hodgkin
or Non-Hodgkin in variety. There are many Non- Hodgkin lymphoma types and these are categorized as either being low, intermediate
or high grade. Lymphomas of higher grade act more aggressively. Treatment depends on the type and stage of the disease.
Most lymphomas are treated with intravenous chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be added after chemotherapy
to "consolidate" the treatment – to help maximize local control. For early disease, radiation can be used
definitively, without chemotherapy.
For most lymphomas, patients
have no known risk factor. Known risk factors:
- Immunosuppression – i.e. HIV
- Epstein Bar Virus
- Helicobacter Pylori (bacteria that causes stomach ulcers)
- Human T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma virus type-1
- Hepatitis C virus
High fevers, weight loss, and night
sweats are classic symptoms of lymphoma. Lymphoma may be diagnosed after testing has been completed on swollen lymph nodes
or abnormal growths. Lymph node swelling can cause local symptoms including pressure on adjacent tissues and organs.
Biopsy is necessary to prove the diagnosis of lymphoma. Often an enlarged lymph node is biopsied.
Tests are performed to evaluate the extent of the disease, meaning how far it has spread. Staging exams
utilized in the management of lymphoma include bone marrow biopsy, a CT scan of chest/Abdomen/Pelvis, and PET/CT scan.