Cancer and Common Questions about Lymphoma

 


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If you or a family member has just been diagnosed with lymphoma, there probably are many questions you have. You will get all those answered eventually, however you first should know a little bit about cancer itself. Here we answer some of the questions to help you understand better what is going on inside your body.

What is a Cancer? Cancer is a condition in which certain of your body’s cells become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, beyond the ability of your body to destroy these rogue cells. Your natural body defenses become insufficient to fight off this rapid growth of cells. Typically these cells then group together in a mass form called a tumor.

Your body is comprised of millions of cells, all working together in balance within your body for it’s proper function. Blood cells, for example function in homeostasis; your body must have red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets for you to live and breathe. These cells each have a life span and age in your body. When they near the end of their life span they are destroyed, and new cells form to replace the lost ones. The process takes place continually, but for some this process doesn't work properly. Cells may be formed too soon and not reach maturity, or be destroyed prematurely. When this happens cancer can be the root cause of the process not functioning as it should.

What is Lymphoma? Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system. What occurs is that lymphocytes are not maturing as they should, and are not becoming normal white blood cells. When such abnormal cells start taking over they will replicate faster than normal white blood cells and live longer than normal lymphocytes. They are able develop in many parts of your body, such as the spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and blood. There are two major types of cancer of the lymphatic system; Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, others exists as well but these are the main two.

What is a Lymphocyte? White blood cells which help the body fight off infections and other foreign entities in your body. Lymphocytes are manufactured in the bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes, and flow through your body in the lymph system. You have two main types of lymphocytes.

B-lymphocytes grow into plasma cells which make proteins known as antibodies. T-lymphocytes help destroy your body's own cells when they become infected. They assist in you fighting off viral infections that medications don't seem to take of. T cells help fight off cancer as well. Once these cells have done their jobs the survivors develop into memory cells stored in the lymph nodes. They remain, and if that particular antigen reappears they help fight if off again. This is how vaccines can work in our body.

How is Lymphoma treated? The various types of lymphoma are treated differently. Your physician will be better able to inform you which course of treatment is available for you. The majority of cancers are treated with immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation. The objective is to get rid of the abnormal cells and to allow new healthy cells to develop in their place. A number of treatments are sometimes needed to reach this goal and help you recover.

Cancer can be a difficult thing to understand. For more on Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and it’s diagnosis visit http://www.medopedia.com.

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