Focus on lymphoma Focus on lymphoma

The most common types of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s and Non Hodgkin’s; owing its name to the British doctor that discovered the disease in the 19th Century.

Advisor Mauricio Lema
Medical Oncologist

The first alerting signal for lymphoma is inflammation of one or several lymphatic ganglia that do not return to their normal size along the following six weeks.  Additional symptoms include fever, sweating and unintentional loss of weight over the last six months. This is a suspicious clinical panorama that requires medical consultation. Lymphoma refers to a type of cancer of the lymphatic system that is part of the organism’s network in charge of combating germs, infections and other disorders, in other words, to the immune system. “When a ganglion inflames persistently over six weeks, a kind of inventory is made to determine the groups of ganglia involved.  The sites of easier access are the groin, neck and armpits: less visible are the ones located in the mediastinum a place between the lungs, in the intra-abdominals, or in the pelvis made visible only through imaging,” explains Medical Oncologist Mauricio Lema. In order to establish diagnosis and treatment the specialist removes the ganglion (biopsy), evaluates the blood tests and physical examinations and collates with family antecedents of the patient. Most cases are curable.

General characteristics

Despite other types of cancer such as lung, breast and colon that extend to the ganglia, lymphoma is characterized by the fact that the cancer originates in them. The risk of suffering this disease increases in individuals presenting with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

From 15 to 35 and from 50 to 70 years of age Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma is most common.

Early detection

A biopsy, in most types of cancer, is the safest way to determine its existence in a given area of the body. During this procedure, the doctor takes a small sample of tissue to perform laboratory tests. When it is not possible to take this sample, other tests are performed to help establish the diagnosis.

3 to 6 individuals for each 100 thousand inhabitants are diagnosed with lymphoma every year. 5 %of cancer diagnosis corresponds to lymphoma.

Hodgkin’s and Non Hodgkin’s

Around 90 % of the people with lymphoma also have Non Hodgkin’s, the rest have Hodgkin’s. The main difference is the specific type and the proliferation of lymphocytes that participate in each case. Lymphocytes refer to a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow; it is found in the blood, in the ganglia and other vital organs such as the liver, spleen or thymus.

Related: The warning signs of lymphoma