Burkitt’s lymphoma is a rare form of cancer listed under the category of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It affects the lymphatic system of a person and causes abnormal growth of cells in the system. This article focuses on the various Burkitt’s lymphoma symptoms and signs that can help you identify the condition to some extent.
Also known as the malignant lymphoma or Burkitt’s tumor, this B cell lymphoma is a very rare type of cancer that rapidly tends to spread in the lymphatic system of a person. This condition is named after the surgeon ‘Denis Parsons Burkitt’, who was the first one to describe this condition back in the year 1956. This condition is known to affect mostly children, but it can also occur in adults. It mostly affects children in the equatorial region of Africa wherein 100 out of a million children suffer from this condition, but it can be found in other countries as well. Males are known to be more prone to suffer from this condition as compared to females.
A person is said to be suffering from Burkitt’s lymphoma when the B cells found in the lymphatic system, which consists of the spleen, bone marrow, thymus, and the lymph nodes tend to grow uncontrollably and become cancerous. The lymph nodes play a very important role in the filtering of the harmful viruses, bacteria, cancerous cells, and damaged cells from the body. The cause behind this condition is considered to be the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), however, immunodeficiency diseases can also be the cause depending upon the type of Burkitt’s lymphoma one is suffering from. Mentioned below are its different types and symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Burkitt’s Lymphoma
Our body has almost 500-600 lymph nodes that are spread in regions like neck, underarms, groin, abdomen, and chest. These lymph nodes consist of lymph fluids, which consists of WBCs (white blood cells) known as lymphocytes which help us fight infection. These lymphocytes when affected by the EBV virus can cause the beginning of certain signs and symptoms. However, the point to be noted is that not all types of Burkitt’s lymphoma is caused by the EBV. Other factors like genetics, weaker immune system, exposure to virus related infections and radiation therapy has also been associated with the cause.
There are three main types of Burkitt’s lymphoma. First is the Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma, which is associated with the EBV and is found in the Central regions of Africa. This type of BL usually affects the jawbone. The next type is the Sporadic Burkitt Lymphoma, which is again associated with the EBV and leads to glandular fever. The third type is the Immunodeficiency associated Burkitt Lymphoma, which is commonly found among AIDS patients. Listed below are the signs and symptoms of Burkitt’s lymphoma. Have a look…
- Pain in the abdomen
- Soreness in the throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in regions like the neck, underarm, groin, abdomen, or chest
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite leading to weight loss
- Night sweats
- Pain in the bones and joints
- Severe constipation
- Darkening and itchiness on the skin areas due to infiltration of the skin
- Fluid accumulation around the lungs
- Thickening of the skin
- Digestion problems
- Swelling in the jawline or the facial bone, usually seen in endemic lymphoma.
- Swelling in the tumors of the salivary glands
- Formation of tumors in the bone marrow
- Recurring infections
- In some cases loss of teeth and protruding eyes have also occurred
Burkitt’s lymphoma is known to be one of the fastest spreading cancers in the body. A person who was all fit and healthy a few weeks ago could be critically ill within a matter of days. Which is why it is important to identify the symptoms and signs of this condition as soon as possible so that relevant treatment can be done in the earlier stage itself.
Various tests and examinations like CT scan, x-rays, ultrasounds, etc., are done to diagnose the presence of tumors in the body. Once the condition has been diagnosed, it can be cured by chemotherapy and other preventive therapies. However, the earlier is the diagnosis, the better are the chances for lymphoma treatment. So make sure that even if you have the slightest doubt, get in touch with a trusted healthcare specialist as soon as possible.