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Lymphoma: how to diagnose and treat it?

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16 Nov 2018
Le lymphome : Comment le diagnostiquer et le traiter ?

In the human body, many systems ensure its protection of internal and external factors and safeguard the perpetuity of our race; the nervous system, the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the urogenital apparatus.... and the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a set of one-way vessels that originate in different tissues of the organs to join the ganglia that are found in several parts of the body.
The liquid circulating in these vessels is called the lymph, or lymphatic fluid. It is a yellowish liquid sometimes colorless; it carries some nutrients, hormones but especially lymphocytes (type of white blood cells) that play a key role in the activation of the immune system for the defense of the human body of viral infections, bacterial or any foreign body.

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Lymphocytes that circulate throughout the body can have abnormalities and cause swelling (tumor formation) in one or more organs and even bone marrow.

The causes of lymphoma remain unknown. Many studies have been done to find links but the causes remain hypotheses, we quote heredity, specific bacterial infections, viral infections by the Epstein-Barr virus, environmental factors such as pollution, and even excessive exposure to magnetic fields, organic solvents (acetone, ethanol ...) and pesticides.
Lymphoma is an attack of our immune system, thus an attack on the defenses of our body against diseases and infections.

Different Lymphomas

There are two major types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Hodgkin lymphoma or (Hodgkin's disease) are less common and affect mainly young people. They are characterized by the presence of abnormal cells called Reed-Sternberg cells.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or NHL affects mostly the elderly and especially male. There are several types of NHL lymphoma, depending on the origin of the cancer cell. NHL type B lymphoma (B lymphocyte origin) are the most common, develop quickly and are very aggressive. Other lymphomas are virulent such as peripheral T cell lymphoma (T-cell origin), lymphoblastic lymphomas and less virulent T-cell lymphomas and lymphocytic lymphomas.

How to diagnose and treat it?

The sooner the diagnosis of lymphoma is made, the higher the chances for remission.
The ganglia are located in the neck, armpits, clavicle and groin. Their inflammation, though painless, is one of the symptoms that should not be neglected.
Other signs appear, such as loss of appetite and weight, shortness of breath and fatigue, persistent fever at night and headaches.  These signs are generally confused with other benign diseases.

Depending on the type of lymphoma and its stage, different treatments are prescribed to the subjects, but the result varies according to the patient's response to the treatments.
However, these treatments guarantee the reduction of the ganglia affected, limit the symptoms which lead to remission and a total cure at times.