In this day and age, life has become increasingly fast-paced. Since time is always of the essence, most people tend to neglect the most important things, such as health care. Some diseases, such as lymphoma, have symptoms that don't seem to be that big of a deal, so that they end up being overlooked.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that involves certain cells of the immune system, which are called lymphocytes. The lymphatic system, being part of the immune system, controls the flow of lymph that attacks pathogens and destroys them. Lymph travels through the lymph nodes, also known as lymph glands, and other parts of the lymphatic system, such as the tonsils, bone marrow, spleen, and thymus gland.
Cancer occurs when the body's cells behave abnormally, specifically when cells begin to multiply and eventually produce a mass that affects the other organs. In the case of lymphoma, enlarged lymph nodes are usually detected, which can be considered as tumors. Upon detection, a biopsy is administered to determine whether the mass is malignant or benign.
Lymphoma is considered as the seventh most common cancer in both males and females, and has more than thirty subtypes. The subtypes are divided into two categories, Hodgkin's, also known as Hodgkin's Disease, and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A single cell separates the two types, a cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell, which is present in Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
It's important to know which kind of Lymphoma a person is diagnosed with, as treatment varies greatly depending on the cancer type. The symptoms for both, however, are similar. The most common symptoms include lumps in the neck, armpit, or groin. These are the most common symptoms of lymphoma, and often the only ones. These lumps are painless, and are usually felt when bathing or changing. Note that enlarged lymph nodes do not always mean it's lymphoma; this is why it's important to have the lump checked. Along with these lumps, there are several other symptoms that could manifest. Keep in mind that a lump must be present along with the other symptoms. These are:
- Fever. When fever is continuous or recurring and doesn't seem to have anything to do with an infection.
- Excessive sweating, especially at night.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite. Unexplained weight-loss is usually related to any type of cancer; and it is no different with lymphoma. As the cancer cells spread across the body, a decrease in appetite is usually present.
- Weakness for no apparent reason.
- Severe itching. Unexplainable itching that does not seem to be allergy related, especially in the feet and legs.
When diagnosed with lymphoma, or any type of illness for that matter, it is important to gather all sorts of information available. With the help of your doctor and today's technological advances, which allow us access to important information at the drop of a hat, there is no way one could stay uninformed. Online medical articles, journals, and even message boards are filled to the brim with articles to tell you what you need to know.