Is Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Curable?

Lymphoma is the cancer of the cells of the lymphatic system known as lymphocytes. The cells continuously divide, and functions differently form the normal lymphocytes and thus compromise the immune system of the body. The symptoms of lymphoma include enlarged lymph node, weight loss, high fever, loss of appetite and wrenching night sweats. The difference between Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is the presence of specific type of abnormal cells known as Reed-Sternberg cells found in Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lymphoma is known to be the cancer with highest cure rate.

Is Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Curable?

With the advent of new technology for diagnosis and the latest treatment, the oncologists have now been able to beat lymphoma at any stage. Lymphoma is known to be one of the most curable cancers. The early diagnosis of lymphoma leads to high survival rate and a favorable prognosis. However, the late stage lymphoma can also be treated by more aggressive treatment strategy. It is quite obvious that more early the diagnosis, better are the chances of survival. Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the presence of lymphoma in extranodal organs which are not the part of lymphatic system. These organs include liver, lungs, bone marrow and CNS. Thus, the treatment of these sites is quite possible due to chemotherapy and sometimes surgical intervention is required. The mean survival rate for the patient with stage 4 lymphoma depends upon the subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the age of the patients. It also depends upon the organ affected and the extent of tumor.

However, the five-year survival rate ranges from 55-60%. Further, the high survival rate of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is found in those patients who are having the age below 60 years.

Stages of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

After the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) has been diagnosed, the next important thing is to find out the stage of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The stage of the disease is found out on the basis of the extent of lymphoma. This helps the oncologist is designing the course of the treatment and the prognosis of the disease. It also helps in evaluating the effect of treatment on lymphoma. Also, further diagnosis is done to find out the subtype of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the spread in other parts of the body. Following are the stages of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

Stage I: In the stage I, the Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer is found in a single lymph node. The extranodal existence of stage I cancer is depicted by Stage IE. This stage is characterized by the presence of NHL in one extranodal region outside the lymph nodes.

Stage II: This stage of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the presence of more than one affected lymph node either above or below the diaphragm. Further, the stage IIE is identified by the presence of tumor in an organ outside lymph node on the same side of the affected lymph nodes.

Stage III: This stage of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is characterized by the presence of cancerous lymph nodes in area both above and below the diaphragm. Stage IIIE is defined by the presence of cancerous lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm and also in the nearby organ. Stage IIIS is characterized by the presence of cancerous lymph nodes and the cancer in spleen. Stage IIIE+S is defined by the presence of cancerous lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm, cancer in nearby organ and cancer in spleen.

Stage IV: The cancer at this stage is progressed in to the organs which are not the part of lymphatic system. These organs may be far from the affected lymph node or near to it. The organs that may affect include liver, bone marrow, lungs and cerebrospinal fluid.

Conclusion

All the stages of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are curable. The prognosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma depends upon the stage at which the disease is diagnosed, age of the patient, organs involved and the response of patient towards treatment. As the stage progresses, more aggressive treatment is required with low cure rate. The overall survival rate of stage 4 lymphoma is 55-60%.

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