Experts say that aside from being unfamiliar with signs and symptoms of lymphoma, this condition can be hard to notice because the usual signs can be quite common. Some may even be mistaken for common ailments such as fever and even colds. But if you are one of those that are at risk—somebody who have cancer history in their families or those that have weak immune system that are prone to infections—it would be best to have an appointment with your doctor.
The most common signs of lymphoma would include enlarged nodes that can be seen as lumps the neck, groin or armpits, non stop fever, loss of appetite, drastic weight loss, too much sweating during bedtime, itchiness on all parts of the body, exhaustion or the constant feeling of being weak, and breathlessness that is usually accompanied by swollen face and neck.
It is advisable that the person who experiences at least three of the mentioned symptoms would go to the doctor for a check up. Once the doctor suspects that you might be suffering from lymphoma, he or she would request for diagnostic procedures including biopsy to confirm the suspicions and to also determine how much damage have the cancer cells brought to the organs of the body.
Once final diagnosis has been made, a series of tests will soon follow in order to get detailed accounts of the disease. These reports are crucial in determining what kind of treatment should be given to the patient.
For those who are diagnosed with lymphoma, it is a must to undergo treatment in order to open up to greater chances of recovery. However, since there are almost 35 different types of lymphoma, the treatment options may also vary and could be on a case to case basis.
When it comes to treatment, experts say that it would be possible to use the same treatment for at least three or more types depending on their nature and the way the patient’s body reacts to it. To get better understanding in lymphoma treatment, here is some overview of the four major treatment options available for you:
1. Chemotherapy. Here, drugs are administered including infusions in the patient’s veins or can be used as in the form of pills. The most common chemotherapy schedules are ABVD, R-CHOP and CHOP.
2. Radiotherapy. This is a treatment options wherein high energy rays are used and directed exactly towards the tumor. Experts say that this can be delivered over small areas which involves field radiation or in large areas which involves extended field radiation.
3. Antibody therapy. Also known as “biological therapy”, this type of treatment make use of drugs such as “rituximab” which is specially designed to target special molecules that are present on the cancer cells’ surface.
4. Bone marrow or stem cell transplant. This is probably the most painful, not to mention the most expensive—lymphoma treatment available. Here, high doses of radiation or chemotherapy are used in order to eliminate all cancer cells by killing them. What is good about this is that while it targets cancerous cells, it helps save the bone marrow through stem cells or through the use of marrow transplant.