FACTS ABOUT Lymphomas

The lymphatic system is a network of tiny vessels extending throughout the body, and it is responsible for carrying a clear fluid called lymph from the extremities and organs back to the blood circulation. The fluid helps our body fight infection and disease, making it a very important part of our body. A tumor of the lymphatic system is called lymphoma, and two main types are Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

Learn more about the treatments available for lymphoma, the possible side effects from treatment, and more by clicking the links below.


Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma gets its name from Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described the condition back in 1832. This form of lymphoma originates in the large, central lymph nodes of the body, which typically reside along the largest blood vessels in the neck, chest, abdomen, spine, armpit, and groin areas. Hodgkin's lymphoma is very treatable; 80% of patients live for more than 10 years after their diagnosis.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) refers to 30 types of lymphoma that are not categorized as Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Since NHL is a group of different types of lymphoma, it is more common compared to Hodgkin's lymphoma. All types of NHL are treatable, and in some cases, curable, if patients seek professional medical treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign of developing Hodgkin’s or Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is an enlarged lymph node, which manifests as a bump under the skin in the region of the neck, underarm, or groin. Other signs and symptoms of both types of lymphoma include:

  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Itchy skin
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough & chest pain
  • Trouble breathing

The symptoms that a patient may experience will vary depending on the type of lymphoma, the location, and the stage of the cancer. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for two weeks or more, and they don’t respond to any lifestyle adjustments you make, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

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Stages of Lymphoma

The extent and severity of the lymphoma is identified using four stages. .

  • Stage I - A Single lymph node or non-lymph node region is affected.
  • Stage II: Two or more lymph nodes or non-lymph node regions are affected on the same side of the diaphragm (the muscle under the lungs).
  • Stage III: Lymph node or non-lymph node regions above and below the diaphragm are affected.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has spread outside the lymph nodes to organs such as the liver, bones or lungs. Stage IV can also refer to a tumor in another organ and/or tumors in distant lymph nodes.

To identify the stage of the lymphoma, a physician will conduct a biopsy to examine a tissue sample. Once the stage is identified, the physician will be able to create a treatment plan that is right for you.

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Treatment Options for Lymphoma

Radiation therapy uses concentrated doses of radiation to kill cancer cells while effectively preserving nearby healthy tissue. Through a procedure known as External Beam Radiation Therapy, a radiation oncologist will use a machine to deliver focused beams of radiation, targeted at the affected area.

When cancer cells are hit with radiation, they lose their ability to multiply and are killed off due to their inability to regenerate. While radiation therapy does affect a small amount of healthy tissues, the healthy cells can regenerate themselves after a short period of recovery.

Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or biologic therapy. Your radiation oncologist will develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

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Treating Lymphoma With Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses concentrated doses of radiation to kill cancer cells while effectively preserving nearby healthy tissue. Through a procedure known as External Beam Radiation Therapy, a radiation oncologist will use a machine to deliver focused beams of radiation, targeted at the affected area.

When cancer cells are hit with radiation, they lose their ability to multiply and are killed off due to their inability to regenerate. While radiation therapy does affect a small amount of healthy tissues, the healthy cells can regenerate themselves after a short period of recovery.

Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or biologic therapy. Your radiation oncologist will develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

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Biologic Therapy

Also known as immunotherapy, biologic therapy uses forms of vaccines or bacteria to enhance the patient’s immune system, allowing it to combat the cancer cells more effectively. While similar to chemotherapy in some regards, biologic therapy does not directly attack and destroy cancer cells. Biologic therapy is provided by a medical oncologist, and the frequency and degree of treatment vary depending on the patient’s individual needs. It is common for biologic therapy to be used in conjunction with radiation therapy to improve cure rates.

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Contact Your Local Radiation Oncology Center Today!

If you have any questions about lymphoma, signs and symptoms, or the kinds of treatments available, just contact our cancer treatment team here at Northeastern Nevada Radiation Oncology Center. We guide our patients through the battle against lymphoma and other types of cancer, by providing them with superior care and professional radiation therapy out of our local cancer treatment center in Elko, NV.

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Lymphoma – Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Resources

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

1-800-955-4572
www.lls.org/

Lymphoma Information Network

www.lymphomainfo.net/

Lymphoma Research Foundation 

1-800-500-9976
www.lymphoma.org

Also see Helpful Links

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BROCHURE

Download a helpful brochure from www.rtanswers.org

*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.

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