Lymphoma is a cancer that develops from lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells. In lymphoma, the normal lymphocytes undergo changes and become diseased and they also grow disproportionately.
There are two main categories of lymphoma- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Does Lymphoma Spread Quickly?
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphocytes are affected in this cancer. These are a part of the blood. Hence, this cancer is present in the blood stream itself. As blood travels in each and every part of the body, this cancer can spread easily and quickly to other parts in our body. However, it depends upon the type and the stage of the Lymphoma. It is not necessary that a lymphoma will always spread very quickly. Sometimes, a lymphoma can lie indolent for many years before it actually starts showing any symptoms and spreading.
Spread of The Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas spread in an unpredictable way.
The lymphoma usually starts in the lymph nodes of the lymphatic system. When from there, it spreads to other organs and tissues of the body, it is known as extra-nodal spread.
The non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can spread to the body parts and organs like other lymph nodes, stomach, liver, spleen, lungs, pleura, intestines, skin, eyes, testicles etc.
Spread of The Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually spread in a way which is quite predictable. They usually spread from the lymph node where they started, to the nearest lymph node through the lymphatic vessels.
The Hodgkin’s lymphoma can spread to the body parts and organs like other lymph nodes, spleen, lungs, pleura, liver, bones and bone marrow, skin and the central nervous system, etc.
Stages Of Lymphoma
The stages of lymphoma determine a lymphomas location and the spread. Staging a lymphoma means to determine where the lymphoma is located, where it has spread to and what is its effect on other organs. Diagnostic tests and procedures are required to determine a stage of the lymphoma. Staging helps an oncologist to decide on the course of treatment and to predict a prognosis.
The stages of lymphoma are given from stage I to stage IV.
In this stage, either the cancer is located in one lymph node, or it has spread to one other organ but no other lymph node.
In this stage, the cancer is located in two or more lymph node regions, but they are on the same side of the diaphragm or it is located in one organ and surrounding lymph nodes, while cancer may or may not be spread in other lymph nodes, but this also on the same side of the diaphragm
In this stage, the cancer is spread to the lymph nodes on both the sides of the diaphragm.
In this stage the cancer has spread out of the lymph nodes and throughout the body.
The stage III and IV are now included in the same category, because they involve same line of treatment and their prognosis is same as well.
- Sometimes, the cancer also spreads while the person is already being treated for the original lymphoma. This is called progressive disease. Recurrent lymphoma is the one that comes back after the treatment. It may recur in the same area or in a different area.
Determining how a cancer spreads can provide the oncologists with helpful information regarding the treatment and control of the disease.
- The low-grade lymphomas are usually spread to the other parts and organs of the body when they are diagnosed.
- The high-grade lymphomas usually are not spread far when they are diagnosed.
- Sometimes a low-grade lymphoma can get converted to a high-grade lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a highly treatable disease. It may be aggressive, or indolent, but, treatable. Sometimes, complete cure is possible with early detection and prompt and efficient treatment.
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