Lymphoma is a broad term that encompasses a variety of cancers of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body's immune system. This is the system that helps filter out bacteria and is vital in fighting disease.
In lymphoma, the lymphocytes or white blood cells in the lymph system multiply wildly from a single cell. The various types of lymphomas are based on the type of cell that multiplies and how the cancer presents itself.
The two main groups of lymphoma are Hodgkin's lymphoma or disease and the Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. There are subtypes or classifications within each category. Hodgkin's lymphoma has five subtypes while the non-Hodgkin's category has about 35 recognized types of cancer.
Diagnosis of the disease at the right time is a very important factor in its cure. As the various subtypes behave differently, it is important that the medical practitioner is able to recognize the symptoms and diagnose it speedily. It is also advisable for the patient to always take a second opinion as the other practitioner carries out a fresh set of analysis and approaches the symptoms from a different angle.
Lymphoma is a cancer that generally responds to treatment but has a tendency to recur. Chemotherapy and radiation are the usually chosen methods of treatment after staging the cancer at diagnosis. At times, a combination of treatments is also used.
Biological drugs are the latest finds in this field for treatment and cure of the lymphomas. They are basically antibodies that attach to the cancerous cell and destroy it. This is a better method than the use of radiation and chemotherapy as they are nonselective and kills the healthy as well as cancerous cells.
There is no recognized cause for lymphoma presently, though some strains of virus are suspects as the cause of certain types of cancer. A patient of lymphoma has more than an average chance of recovering from the disease if the diagnosis, staging and treatment are carried out at the right time.
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