Lymphoma is a term that refers to the cancer of lymphatic system. The lymphatic system consists of lymph nodes or lymph glands, lymphatic vessels and also some other lymphatic organs like the thymus gland, spleen and the bone marrow. In lymphoma, the lymphocytes (a kind of white blood cells) are affected. The lymphocytes are important in disease fighting mechanism of our body. They are an important part of our immune system.
Lymphomas affect the lymphocytes. Lymphomas are categorized mainly in two types-Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. Both these categories spread differently and also respond to the treatment differently. Hence, it is necessary to ascertain the type of lymphoma before starting on the treatment.
How Bad Is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer?
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is bad as it cannot be cured. However, it is a highly treatable disease and the symptoms can be controlled and even reduced with proper treatment and care.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a treatable cancer. To understand this better, let us first have a view of the condition.
Lymphocytes are affected in lymphomas. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells. There are two types of lymphocytes.
- B lymphocytes or the B cells.
- T lymphocytes or the T cells.
- B lymphocytes are responsible for making proteins or antibodies that are responsible for fighting germs.
- T lymphocytes are of different types. Some are responsible for destroying the harmful germs, while others are responsible for boosting or slowing the other types of immune system cells.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is usually seen to be beginning in the B lymphocytes.
Lymphocytes are a part of the lymphatic system. Lymphatic system is present throughout the body. Hence, lymphoma can start anywhere in the body. Lymphoma is a blood cancer. Blood is present everywhere in the body, hence it is difficult to stop the lymphoma from spreading anywhere in the body. But, through efficient treatment and early diagnosis, Hodgkin’s lymphoma can prove to be a highly treatable disease.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes) is usually the first sign of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These swollen lymph nodes are usually painless.
- There might be itchy skin and night sweats.
- There might be a sudden, unwanted weight loss.
- Splenomegaly and/or hepatomegaly may be seen.
- Pain might be present. Pain on alcohol consumption is seen in many cases.
- Fever may be present, along with severe fatigue.
Stages Of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
There are four stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They help to feel the extent of spread of the cancer and determine the treatment. They also help to tell how bad or how treatable a cancer is and what is the prognosis for the disease.
In this stage the cancer is present in only 1 lymph node region. Or it may have spread to another organ, but no other lymph node region.
(However, this is very rare occurrence in Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as the course of spread of Hodgkin’s lymphoma itself is from one lymph node to the other lymph node through lymph vessels).
In this stage, the cancer is in 2 or more lymph nodes and they are all present on one side of the diaphragm
The cancer is in one organ and its associated lymph nodes with or without the cancer being spread to other lymph nodes and in the same side of the diaphragm
One of the first two scenarios might be present, along with a mass in the chest.
In this stage, the cancer spreads in the lymph node areas on both the sides of the diaphragm.
In this stage, the lymphoma spreads to one or more organs beyond the lymph nodes.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not completely curable. But, it can be managed and controlled and brought into remission with early diagnosis and efficient treatment.