Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Treatment of lymphoma

Treatment of lymphoma
Biologic Therapy
This treatment increases the body's natural ability to fight cancer. It does this by giving a boost to the immune system. The types of biologic therapy:
  • Monoclonal Antibodies: These are drugs like Rituxan®, which directly target lymphoma cells and do not harm normal cells.
  • Radioimmuno therapy: These are therapies like Rituxan®, which have a radioisotope attached to them.
  • Interleukin 2: This is a medicine that activates the immune system so that it can kill cancer cells.
  • Vaccines: These are treatments that help the body protect itself against the lymphoma.
This treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells and reduce the size of cancer tumors. There are many types of chemotherapy drugs. Many drugs are often used together for chemotherapy.
Radiation Therapy
This treatment uses radiation (high energy x-rays) to kill cancer cells.The treatment often only takes place in the part of your body where the lymphoma is located.
Sometimes high doses of chemotherapy destroy the lymphoma cells and your bone marrow, which is the "factory" for blood cells. To help the bone marrow make new healthy blood cells, some stem cells (immature cells that will grow up into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) may be taken with a special machine before chemotherapy is given.
These cells are then transplanted into the body. These transplanted cells will then find their way to the bone marrow and restore it, so that it can build healthy new blood cells.
There are two types of transplants:
1) Autologous transplants which uses your own bone marrow or stem cells.
2) Allogeneic transplants which uses bone marrow or stem cells from a donor.
Watchful Waiting
This means that the patient does not have to get any active treatment now. But, he may need to get treatments later.
Clinical Trials
These are research studies that help doctors learn more about lymphoma treatment. They can also help people with cancer, because it allows them to receive the treatment. Often, clinical trials are the only way patients can receive new treatments, which are not otherwise available.
Clinical trials can help doctors learn about many ways to help their patients like:
  • New types of treatments.
  • Ways to prevent cancer.
While clinical trials can provide many benefits, they can also be harmful for some patients. The patient should speak with his doctor, nurse, or health care team about clinical trials.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Lymphoma causes and diagnosis

Lymphoma causes and diagnosis
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
§  Age - most non-Hodgkin lymphomas are in people 60 years of age and over
§  Sex - there are different rates of different types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma across the sexes
§  Ethnicity and location - in the US, African-Americans and Asian-Americans are less prone than white Americans, and the disease is more common in developed nations of the world
§  Chemicals and radiation - some chemicals used in agriculture have been linked, as has nuclear radiation exposure
§  Immune deficiency - for example, caused by HIV infection or in organ transplantation
§  Autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the body's own cells
§  Infection - certain viral and bacterial infections increase the risk. The Helicobacter Infection has been implicated, as has the Epstein Barr Virus (the virus that causes glandular fever)13
Hodgkin's lymphoma
§  Infectious mononucleosis - infection with Epstein-Barr virus
§  Age - two specific groups are most affected: typically people in their 20s, and people over the age of 55 years
§  Sex - slightly more common in men
§  Location - most common in the US, Canada and northern Europe; least common in Asia
§  Family - if a sibling has the condition, the risk is slightly higher, and very high if there is an identical twin
§  Affluence - people from higher socioeconomic status are at greater risk
§  HIV infection



-          Blood tests

The doctor may take some blood from the arm using a needle and syringe. This will be sent to a pathology laboratory to be examined. These tests will also tell the doctors how well the other organs such as liver and kidneys are working.

-          Bone marrow biopsy

Lymphoma cells can spread to bone marrow. In a bone marrow biopsy, a sample from the bone marrow is taken with a needle. The bone marrow is usually taken from the back of the hipbone.
The patient will have a local anaesthetic and possibly some sedative so he does not feel pain during the biopsy. The sample will be looked at under a microscope to see if the lymphoma has spread to the bone marrow.

-          Computerised tomography (CT) scan

A CT scan is a special type of x-ray that gives a three-dimensional (3-D) picture of the organs and other structures in the body. It usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete this painless test.

-          Gallium scan

In this test the whole body is checked. The patient will have an injection of radioactive gallium, a sort of metal. After a few days, when it has had time to circulate around the body, the patient will return to the hospital to have pictures of the body taken with a special camera (a gamma camera).


The lymphatic system is part of the immune system. It consists of a network of vessels that carry a fluid called lymph, similar to the way that the network of blood vessels carry blood throughout the body. Lymph contains white blood cells called lymphocytes that are also present in blood and tissues. Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the immune system - specifically, it is a cancer of immune cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. These lymph nodes filter the lymph, which may carry bacteria, viruses, or other microbes. At infection sites, large numbers of these microbial organisms collect in the regional lymph nodes and produce the local swelling and tenderness typical of a localized infection. Lymphocytes recognize infectious organisms and abnormal cells and destroy them. There are two major subtypes of lymphocytes: B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes, also referred to as B cells and T cells. There are two broad types of lymphoma and many subtypes:
  • Non-Hodgkin: Most people with lymphoma have this type.
  • Hodgkin
These two types occur in the same places, may be associated with the same symptoms, and often have similar appearance on physical examination. However, they are readily distinguishable via microscopic examination of a tissue biopsy sample because of their distinct appearance under the microscope and their cell surface markers. Non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma each affect a different kind of lymphocyte. Every type of lymphoma grows at a different rate and responds differently to treatment. Even though lymphoma is cancer, it is very treatable. Many cases can even be cured. Classification is a complicated process, but it helps surgeons and physicians to determine the best course of action for treating the cancer.
A number of different classification systems have been proposed over recent years, with the most commonly used system devised by the World Health Organization (WHO). This lymphoma classification system helps physicians to standardize how they discuss lymphoma.
Lymphoma is different from leukemia. Each of these cancers starts in a different type of cell.
  • Lymphoma starts in infection-fighting lymphocytes.
  • Leukemia starts in blood-forming cells inside bone marrow.
The symptoms and signs of lymphoma are very similar to those of simple illnesses such as viral illnesses and the common cold, and this can cause problems with delayed diagnosis. The difference is that the symptoms of lymphoma persist long after the usual run of a viral infection.