Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) is a dangerous and potentially deadly form of cancer that affects over 77,000 adults and children and accounts for about four percent of all cancers. As a disease that can strike nearly anyone at any age, including children and adolescents, it’s crucial that you learn how to recognize the signs of this disease so that you can seek early treatment if you believe you are experiencing symptoms.
NHL is a form of lymphoma, or cancer of the lymphatic system, that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes help fight infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The Lymphatic system is a network of knotted tissues connected by vessels. It includes:
In patients with lymphoma, lymph-node cells or lymphocytes multiply uncontrollably. The resulting cancer cells may dangerously invade other tissues throughout the body.
Your lymphatic system’s role in battling infections makes the potential for it to be attacked by cancer a dangerous and potentially deadly threat.
Your lymph nodes help to drain waste products and fluid from the body. In addition, lymphocytes are a crucial component in your body’s ability to fight disease and infection. The two types of lymphocytes are:
Once your doctor determines, among other factors, if your NHL originated in your B or T cells, they will be able to prescribe the most effective treatment method.
While scientists do not know definitively what causes NHL, they know that it occurs when your body overproduces abnormal lymphocytes and old ones that should die continue to grow and divide, which causes swelling.
Symptoms of NHL may include:
If you are experiencing the symptoms above, make an appointment with your doctor.
Nearly anyone can develop NHL, though it most commonly develops in Caucasians, males, and people over age 60. However; there are some factors that could put you at a greater risk of an NHL diagnosis:
As with many forms of cancer, early detection is critical to obtaining effective treatment. If you have any concerns about your risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, or believe you may be experiencing symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor.