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Lymphoma is a group of cancerous blood cells from lymphocytes. There are four categories of lymphoma.
- Hodgkin's Lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Immunoproliferative disease
The vast majority of lymphomas, about 90%, fall under the category of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphoma cancers have the tendency to spread throughout the body particularly to the lungs, liver, and brain. Lymphomas make up around 3-4% of all cancers and led to the death of about 305,000 people in 2012. Lymphoma is also the third most common cancer see in children. Lymphomas make up 5.3% of all cancers in the US and 55.6% of all blood cancers.
People who have had the Epstein-Barr virus, autoimmune diseases, HIV, AIDS, those who take immunosuppressant drugs have an increased risk of getting Hodgkin lymphoma. People who work with pesticides also have an increased risk, as well as those who smoke or those who eat significant amounts of red meat.
Symptoms of lymphoma include enlarged lymph nodes, sweats, weight loss, fatigue, and fever. There are several ways that lymphoma can be diagnosed. Sometimes it might be necessary to take a biopsy of the affected lymph node. A blood, bone marrow, or urine test might also be needed. During the diagnosis phase, the sample will also be tested to decide the category of the lymphoma. This categorization is important for the treatment of the lymphoma.
Treatment for lymphoma might include a variety of therapies. The most common therapies include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Low-grade lymphoma requires doctors and patients to wait and watch because the risk of treatment outweighs the benefits of treatment. High-grade lymphoma requires a more swift, aggressive treatment. Sometimes it is necessary to complete a high-dose round of chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant. For non-Hodgkin lymphoma, treatment is usually targeted radiation if the cancer is isolated and has not spread throughout the body.
The prognosis for survival varies based on stage and if the lymphoma has spread or has stayed isolated. The prognosis for patients that have localized lymphoma is the highest at a 82.3% five year survival rate. The next highest is Regional lymphoma which means it has spread to the lymph nodes. The rate of 5-year survival is 78.3%. Lymphoma that has metastasized has a 62.7% survival rate for 5 years.