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Lymphoma

Meghana Pandian and Rico Dence at Up Cancer
Lymphoma is a common cancer in the young adult cancer (AYA) community. Up Cancer is working to educate the community in learning the symptoms of Lymphoma and understand the different types of Lymphoma.   
               Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer that affects some type of white blood cells called lymphocytes and this causes the affected cells to multiply more than the unaffected cells. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that protects the body from bacteria and viruses. Many symptoms have been detected like the growth of lymph nodes that cause a swelling beneath the skin and these lymph’s can grow on areas such as the side of the neck, and armpit can have night sweats, itchy skin, fever, fatigue, unnecessary weight loss, chest pain, and an enlarged spleen. There are four general stages of Lymphoma and the first stage is when cancer affects only one area of an organ. The second stage is when the cancer is beginning to spread to the organ next to the affected one. The third stage is when the cancer is when it spreads to the organ on the opposite side of the diaphragm. The fourth stage is when the cancer is completely spread on all the other parts of the body such as spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Lymphoma is cancer that is very commonly found in teenagers and young adults as 1 in 5 young people are affected by it mostly people between the ages 15 to 24.  There are mainly two types of lymphomas which are Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
               Hodgkin’s lymphoma is also known as Hodgkin’s disease. This type of cancer begins in the lymphatic system and this system tends to help the immune system to fight infections. There are two main groups of Hodgkin’s disease which are based on types of cells involved and their behavior called Classical and Nodular lymphocyte predominant. Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma affects a cell called the Reed-Sternberg cells. Classical Hodgkin’s is further divided into four types which are Nodular sclerosis, Mixed cellularity, Lymphocyte-rich, and Lymphocyte-depleted. Nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NSCHL) is most commonly found in teens and young adults and this starts inside the chest or neck. There are 7 out of 10 cases that have been found in developing countries. Mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma (MCCHL) is a type that affects most people who have HIV infection and originates mainly from the upper half of the body. There are 4 out of 10 cases that have been reported in developing countries. Lymphocyte-rich Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a very rare type which occurs in the upper half of the body. Lymphocyte-depleted Hodgkin’s lymphoma is another rare type of lymphoma that affects the elderly and HIV affected person. It mainly occurs in the stomach, spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Nodular lymphocyte predominant type tends to occur mostly in older people, but it can also affect the younger people. There are 10 out of 100 cases that have been known. This type of cancer tends to occur during two different stages of life such as the first peak is in young adults and the second peak is when a person is older (Males – ages 75 to 79 and Female- ages 20 to 24).
               Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of lymphoma that starts from the network in the body that fights diseases around the body. There are two types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is B and T- cell lymphocytes. The B-cell lymphocytes affect the B-cells which are the cells that fight infects that produce antibodies and they are also subdivided into more categories like diffuse large B-cell, follicular, mantle, and Burkitt lymphoma. The T-cell lymphocytes affect the T-cell which are the cells that attack the foreign bodies that enter the body and they are also categorized into various other groups like peripheral and cutaneous lymphoma. The percentage of incidence in various types of NHL are as follows; Diffuse large B-cell is 31%, Follicular is 22%, Marginal zone B-cell is 8%, Peripheral T-cell and Small B-lymphocytic is 7%, Mantle cell lymphoma is 6%, Primary mediastinal large B-cell, Anaplastic large T-cell, Burkitt-like, Marginal zone B-cell, and precursor T-lymphoblastic is 2%. This type of cancer can occur only in older people which means that they are strongly associated with age and gender as males (age 85-89) have a higher risk of cancer than women (age 80-84). The chances for males to have this type of cancer is 1 in 42 and females is 1 in 54 during their lifetimes.
               Lymphoma is a cancer type that can be diagnosed by a physical examination performed by a doctor. There are many more tests that help to detect cancer such as X-ray or CT scan, lymph node biopsy during which a small piece of the lymph node is taken out and checked for the presence of abnormal cells, blood tests, test to check the function of the lung, and the bone marrow biopsy. So far the only treatment found are Chemotherapy in which they inject drugs into the bloodstream which tends to destroy the cancer cells, Radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.