Hodgkin Lymphoma – Uncommon Cancer - Dream Health

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Monday 17 March 2014

Hodgkin Lymphoma – Uncommon Cancer

Hodgkin Lymphoma
Hodgkin lymphoma also known as Hodgkin’s disease is an uncommon cancer which develops in the lymphatic system and is a network of vessels and glands spread in the body which acts as an immune system in our body. The clear fluid known as lymph flows in the lymphatic vessels containing infection fighting white blood cells, known as lymphocytes. In this ailment, B-lymphocytes which is a particular type of lymphocyte, tends to increase in an abnormal way and gets collected in certain parts of the lymphatic system like the lymph nodes or glands and the affected lymphocytes thereby lose their properties of infection fighting and the person can be a victim of Hodgkin lymphoma. The common symptoms of this ailment are a painless swelling in a lymph node, mainly in the armpit, neck or groin area. It is characterized by the spread of disease from one lymph node group to another as well as by the development of systemic symptoms in advanced disease. When the cells are examined microscopically, multinucleated RS cells – Reed Sternberg cells, are the histopathologic characteristic found.

The victim with this ailment may be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The choice of the treatment also depends on the age and gender of the patient along with the stage, bulk and histological condition of the disease. Hodgkin lymphoma can affect persons of any age and it generally affects young adults in their twenties and older adults above the age of seventy, affecting men more than women and the exact cause of this ailment is not known. However, if a person having a medical condition wherein the immune system tends to get weakened, immune suppressant medication could be taken to strengthen the immune system. Diagnosis of the ailment is done by carrying out a biopsy which is a minor surgical procedure where the sample of the affected lymph node tissue is removed and tested in the laboratory.

After the ailment is diagnosed, the patient is then staged by undergoing a series of test and procedures that can determine which areas of the body has been affected and these procedures may include a physical examination, blood test, chest X ray radiographs, documentation of their histology, computed tomography – CT or Positron emission tomography – PET, MRI – magnetic resonance imaging, scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis and a bone marrow biopsy. The PET scan is used instead of the gallium scan for staging where, in the PET scan, sites with lymphoma light up brightly providing accurate as well as reproducible imaging. Earlier lymph angiograms or surgical laparotomy involving opening of the abdominal cavity and inspection of tumors were done but not anymore, which is now improved in imaging with the CT and PET scan.

Hodgkin lymphoma is an aggressive cancer which can quickly spread in the body but it is also one of the most easily treated types of cancer. More than eighty percent of the people with Hodgkin lymphoma live at least five years with most of them cured of this disease though there may be long term problems after treatment like infertility or the risk of developing another type of cancer later on. Check up for information at Dream Health for more updates on health issues.

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