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Lymphoma Treatment

Lymphoma Treatment

Lymphoma is a variation of blood cancer that affects the B or T lymphocytes. This article describes treatment options that are usually followed to deal with this condition.
Madhurjya Bhattacharyya
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
One of the most important parts of the immune system of the body, the lymphatic system fights infections and diseases. It consists of numerous thin vessels, which are spread throughout the body. These vessels carry a colorless fluid called the lymph, and this fluid contains lymphocytes that fight diseases and disease-causing agents within the body. Some of the most important parts of the lymphatic system are the bone marrow, tonsils, thymus, and spleen.
Lymphoma is characterized by the development of tumors due to the uncontrolled and abnormal division of these cells. The cancer cells can spread rapidly to other parts of the body, which is why prevention and treatment options need to be availed of as soon as possible. There are two types of lymphoma: Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's. These two types can be differentiated on the basis of their development, spread, and the ways they are treated. These are further divided into more than 67 subtypes. Follicular lymphoma is the most common type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Treatment Options
There are several treatment options available for follicular lymphoma. The disease can be treated depending on the type, stage, and histology of the disease. There are basically four types of treatment options available: radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and vaccine therapy.
Radiation therapy includes using high-energy X-rays so that cancer cells are killed. Usually, there are two types of radiation therapy - external and internal. In external radiation, the machine is used outside the body, and it focuses radiation beam on the location of the cells. On the other hand, in internal therapy, the radioactive substances are sealed in catheters, wires, seeds, or needles and it's placed near the mutated cells. In case of pregnant women, such treatment is usually postponed, as radiation therapy may harm the unborn child.
Chemotherapy is another option which is used for treatment, wherein drugs are used to prevent the affected cells from growing. These drugs either kill the cells or prevent them from dividing. Once the drug is injected, it spreads throughout the body. It reaches the cancer cells and kills them.
Targeted therapy involves the use of drugs so as to identify, attack, and destroy cancerous cells only without harming the other cells of the body. Monoclonal antibody therapy comes under this type of treatment process, in which proteins that are prepared in the laboratory can identify the cancer cells and kill them.
In vaccine therapy, the substances produced by the immune system of the body are replicated and produced in a laboratory, thereby helping to boost the immune system of the body.
Treatment and Prognosis
The treatment options and prognosis depend on the stage, type, and the general health of the patient. Moreover, it also depends on the level of an enzyme called lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). There are some types which spread very rapidly and immediate treatment and preventive measures need to be taken.
Side Effects of the Treatment
There are several side effects of this treatment, and the most common among them is the destruction of the surrounding cells during chemotherapy. Moreover, chemotherapy can reduce the number of blood cells produced by the body, thereby causing anemia, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia. In addition, a person may get runny bowel, besides feeling tired quite frequently. Hair loss is another common side effect of chemotherapy. The side effects of radiation include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and skin irritation.
So, there are several treatment options which you can choose from. However, you need to take the side effects into consideration, before opting for any treatment. It is advisable to consult with your doctor to learn the pros and cons of the aforementioned procedures.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.