Is Lymphoma Curable If Caught Early?
Lymphomas are considered to be curable types of cancer. There are over 70 forms of lymphoma and the earlier they are detected, the higher the likelihood of curability. So, yes, lymphomas are curable if caught early. Taking into account the two major types of lymphoma – Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma – the former is very curable, whereas some forms of the latter are difficult to treat. In addition to that, slow-growing lymphomas are more difficult to treat normally compared to fast-growing lymphomas. Therefore, as much as lymphomas are a type of curable cancer, a few factors determine whether the type one is diagnosed with can be cured or not.
Stages Of Lymphoma
Lymphoma is staged into four distinct stages. Stage 1 is usually localized and only one lymph node is affected. In stage 2 lymphoma, the cancer has affected two neighboring lymph nodes, only on one side. It could also have affected one organ that is close to the affected lymph nodes. The third stage of lymphoma is characterized by cancer in several lymph nodes on both sides of your body. The fourth and final stage, the cancer has advanced and spread into multiple lymph nodes across the body and internal organs have been implicated. All stages of lymphoma are treatable, however, the chances of being cured are higher during the first two stages. The initial symptom of lymphoma is a lump in the lymph nodes near the surface which doesn’t resolve.
Types Of Lymphoma
There are two major forms of lymphoma as earlier mentioned. The percentage of being cured of the two types is different and the relative survival rate of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is lower compared to that of Hodgkin lymphoma. The latter is common among children and young adults, and the survival rate is at 90% in stage 1 and 2. In the final stage of the cancer, the survival rate statistic is fairly good at 65%. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a bit tougher to treat and there are many subtypes of the cancer. These subtypes can either be indolent or aggressive, with indolent types having lower probabilities of being cured. The relative survival rate for NHL is 71%.
Effective Treatment Methods for Lymphoma
For both types of lymphoma, chemotherapy and radiation are used in treating the cancer. The mode of treatment used is dependent on the location of the cancer, the stage, as well as the symptoms, exhibited. Steroids are also used in treating both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. In cases of extranodal (stomach) lymphomas, surgery is the best treatment method so as to remove the malignant growth. For targeted forms of treatment such as biological therapy and immunotherapy, they are combined with chemotherapy to effectively kill the cancerous cells. Recurrent lymphoma is best treated with stem-cell transplant which is used to restore damaged bone marrow. It is succeeded by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation.
Risk Factors And Curability Of Lymphoma
For patients who fall on the high-risk group of lymphomas, treating the cancer can be a bit challenging. The risk factors which can deter the effectiveness of lymphoma treatment include; advanced stage 3 or 4 disease, patients aged 60 and above, metastasizing of the cancer to more than one organ or site. Additionally, higher levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), low hemoglobin and leukocyte count, as well as weakened immunity, can work against effectively curing lymphomas.
The outlook of lymphoma is depended on a few factors such as the type of lymphoma you have, the extent of the spread (stage), and treatment administered. The initial symptom of lymphoma is a lump in the lymph nodes near the surface which doesn’t resolve. The earlier the diagnosis of the cancer, then the earlier treatment will be given and the cancer can be cured. However, even in the late stage of the cancer, treatment can work resulting in remission of the cancer. However, the key to curing lymphoma is an early diagnosis, which translates into early treatment.
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