Characteristics of Hodgkin's Lymphoma


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Lymphomas are the cancer of the lymphoid tissue, so Hodgkin’s disease which is a type of lymphoma, is also a cancer of this tissue. Lymphoid tissue is part of the lymphatic system which is a major component of the immune defense system. The elements that represents the immune system are organs like spleen, bone marrow, lymph nodes, cells and vesels. THe lymph is a fluid made of plasma and white blood cells, created and transported from tissues to the bloodstream by the immune system.

The lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped organs located in different areas of the body. this is the place where the lymph usually develops. There are some situations in which lymph develops in patches of lymphatic tissue in organs like the stomach or intestines.

The lymphoma is classified in two categories of diseases, the Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The appearance under the microscope of the cancer cells is different in these two types of lymphoma. The malignant cells which are present in Hodgkin’s lymphoma or the simply Hodgkin’s disease are called by the scientists Reed-Sternberg cells. This disease was identified for the first time in 1832 by the physician Hodgkin. That's why this disease is called like this. The cause of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not very well known, but there are known the risk factors that may make a person more likely to develop it. These factors include a compromised immune system and the exposure to the Epstein Barr virus. This virus is responsible for the infectious mononucleosis.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a rare form of cancer. It can affect adults and children. It is more frequent between 15 to 40 years and after 55 years. It is also more common in men.

The symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma are similar to the symptoms of every infections: enlarged lymph nodes (swollen glands), night sweats and unexplained weight loss. It is very important for the individuals who experience these symptoms to contact a physician to determine the cause. If it is suspected the Hodgkin’s disease, it is recommended to make a biopsy of the area. The procedure involves removing a small sample of the lymph node tissue which will be exanimate under a microscope.

If the diagnosis is sure, the physician must establish how far the cancer has spread or the stage of the disease. This is necessary for the physician to plan the treatment and it is known that the if the disease has been identified in a lower stage there is a better prognosis for recovery.

Hodgkin’s disease is a type of lymphoma. Lymphoma is the cancer of the lymphoid tissue which is part of the lymphatic system. This is a major component of the immune system which consists of organs such as spleen, lymph nodes and vessels. The lymphatic system produces and transports a fluid made of plasma and white blood cells called lymph, from tissues to the bloodstream.

As the lymph nodes, small, bean-shaped organs are located in different areas of the body, Hodgkin’s lymphoma can start almost everywhere. The lymph nodes are found to the neck, armpit, chest and groin. So it usually begins in the lymph nodes, but in some cases, it can start in patches of lymphatic tissue in organs such as the stomach or intestines. The function of the lymph nodes is to produce immune cells like lymphocytes and plasma cells which are involved in filtering bacteria, cancer cells and other foreign material from lymph and which harm the body. When the antigens reaches into the lymph nodes and they recognize them they respond by enlarging and producing additional white blood cells. These white blood cells include lymphocytes and antibodies that help combat a variety of external threats.

There are known two types of lymphocytes involved in the immune response:

* B lymphocytes (B-cells) which defend the body from invading bacteria and other harmful substances. These particles activate the B cells and they transform into plasma cells, which produce antibodies. The antibodies mark the antigens or the foreign materials and then they destroy them.

* T lymphocytes (T-cells) destroy antigens, infected and malignant cells directly, without producing antibodies.

If the lymphocytes cells continue to grow and expand, the lymph glands or other organs in which they are located begin to enlarge. The cells form lumps which develops in the body. The organ function is affected because of the lymphocyte masses which grow larger. It is more difficult for normal cells to function.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is named after the physician who first discovered it in 1832. Hodgkin’s lymphoma spreads through the lymph vessels to neighboring lymph nodes and even to other areas of the body including the liver, bone marrow, spleen or lungs through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream.

The other kind of lymphoma is non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is more frequent than the other form. Hodgkin’s lymphoma can usually be distinguished from Non- Hodgkin's when tissue is examined under a microscope. This tissue is optained using the method of biopsy. The characteristic cells found in Hodgkin’s lymphoma are known as Reed-Sternberg cells and they are named after the physicians who first described them in detail. It is thought that Reed-Sternberg cells are a form of malignant B–cells.

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