Lymphoma is related to the cancer occurring in the lymphatic system. The cells which become malignant are T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. They multiply on their own without following the instruction embedded in their genetic makeup. This results in piling of a large number of lymphocytes either in lymph nodes or other parts of the body. It is to be noted that the malignant cells do not have the property of normal lymphocytes and thus are unable to help in the immune response. The malignant cells wipe out the normal lymphocyte cells thereby weakening the immune system. The lymphoma can be divided in to Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, night sweats and weight loss. The extent of treatment and survival depends upon the stage of the disease.
What Is The Main Cause Of Lymphoma?
Genetic Changes: Genetic changes are one of the main causes of lymphoma. Almost all the cells have the information of growth and apoptosis and each cell is regulated by the genetic code, which maintains their cell cycle. In normal cases, the cell grows and enters in to apoptosis. However, when this genetic code is mutated, and the stored information is changed, the cell does not undergo apoptosis and a large number of cells are present at a given time. This leads to tumor which replaces the normal cells and disrupts the function of that particular organ.
Viral Infection: Viral infection is one of the most prominent causes for lymphoma. In 1964, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was isolated from the patient with lymphoma. After that, the gate was opened in the research to study the roles of viral infection in lymphoma. Other virus increasing the risk of lymphoma are human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1), Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and hepatitis C virus.
Autoimmune Disease: Various autoimmune diseases contribute to the development of lymphoma. Crohn’s disease of GIT tract and rheumatoid arthritis of the joints increases the risk of lymphoma. The other disease includes celiac disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and Hashimoto’s disease.
Inflammation: Whenever there is an inflammation, either due to the autoimmune disease or due to any other reason, the risk of lymphoma increases. The risk further increases when the inflammation is chronic.
Bacterial Infection: Bacterial infection also increases the risk of lymphoma. Various bacteria in this class includes Helicobacter pylori, Chlamydia psittaci, Campylobacter jejuni, and Borrelia burgdorferi.
History of Cancer: The patients who are having previous history of cancer are at risk of developing lymphoma. The cancer which occurs after another cancer is known as second cancer, a condition non-identical to relapse. Although the reason for this is unknown, but it is believed that during the treatment of first cancer, the lymph nodes gets damaged and may result in cancer.
Chemicals: Various chemicals such as pesticides are known for causing lymphoma. The hair dyes are also a causative agent in the development of lymphoma.
Lifestyle: The lifestyle includes the lifestyle habits and the jobs undertaken. The lifestyle habits such as smoking increases the risk of contracting lymphoma. Further, people in the jobs related to pesticides and chemicals may develop lymphoma. The people working in animal industry are more vulnerable due to transmission of bacterial and viral infection.
Family history: Although the occurrence of lymphoma is not genetic, however those people are at slightly greater risk who have a close relative suffering from lymphoma.
Radiation: Radiation changes the genetic information within the lymphocytes. Thus, it may also cause lymphoma as the genes for controlling the growth and apoptosis has been mutated by radiation.
The exact cause of lymphoma is unknown. It has been believed that there is chain of multitude factors which results in the occurrence of the disease. There are certain risk factors which, if present, increase the risk of developing lymphoma. These factors include bacterial and viral infections, radiation, lifestyle, prior history of cancer, chemicals, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammation.
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