Hodgkin's disease, one type of lymphoma, often causes no symptoms. However, when symptoms are present, they include:
Swollen lymph nodes
Loss of appetite and weight
Non-Hodgkin’s Lympomas symptoms, in addition to those listed above include:
Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin
Swelling or fullness in the abdomen from an enlarged spleen
Changes in bowel habits or bleeding from the rectum
Nasal congestion, difficulty swallowing or a sore throat
The lymph system is part of the immune system and is therefore responsible for defending the body against infection. The disease effects the lymphocytes (type of white blood cell which fights infections) or lymph cells. The lymphocytes are found in the bone marrow and the blood. They come together in the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, chest, abdomen and groins. These lymph nodes are responsible for filtering the fluid and initiating the body’s immune response. In certain people the lymphocytes can become cancerous and start multiplying out of control. This then causes the nodes to enlarge and swell, some types of lymphoma start out as a malignant tumor in the lymph node and then spread through to the other lymphatic tissue and possibly to organs that are outside the lymphatic system. If this is left unchecked, the cancerous cells will multiply and eventually will replace the healthy lymphocytes, and thereby suppress the immune system. The term lymphoma refers to a wide range of diseases that range from slow-growing chronic disorders to rapidly evolving acute conditions. Generally, there are two types of lymphoma - Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas which includes all the other types except Hodgkin’s disease. Hodgkin’s disease usually spreads from one cluster of lymph nodes to the next. It tends to start in lymph nodes in the neck or just under the collarbone, it spreads into the other nodes later, as the disease progresses. Hodgkin’s disease is curable if treated early and has been found to have a very good success rate. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are a little more difficult to cure but they can usually be controlled for a period of time.
It is unknown what causes Hodgkin’s disease. There may be a genetic link and some researchers believe that a virus may be the cause of it. Doctors are unable to detect lymphoma before it begins to cause symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin usually indicate its presence. Doctors are able to perform blood or urine test to determine if the disease is present. If cancer is found, further testing is done to determine how widespread it is.
The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, and vulnerability to infection. Your doctor will probably prescribe medication to address some of these problems. But you are able to do a number of things that can relieve symptoms:
Eat light meals.
Drink a lot of fluids before and after meals
Avoid sweet, fried, or fatty foods and dairy products
If you feel nauseated by the smell of cooked food, try to eat cold foods.
Wear loose-fitting clothes
Rest whenever you feel tired
Keep yourself busy with activities that help take your mind off the immediate discomfort.
Nobody knows enough about lymphoma to be able to suggest what to do to prevent it. However, by staying
as healthy as possible may reduce your risk for cancer in general. Standard advice includes eating a
well balanced diet, keeping your weight in check, trying to reduce stress, exercising regularly, and getting
adequate sleep. All these measures contribute to healthy immune function.
When to seek further professional advice
You detect any symptoms associated with lymphoma.
Radiation and drugs are the standard treatment of lymphoma, unfortunately they can cause damage to the immune system. It is therefore beneficial if you see a naturopath who will be able to advise you on alternative relief as well as ways to build up your immune system again. Rest, relaxation and good nutrition are very important for good health.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are usually used for this specific type of cancer and have proven to be very successful in destroying and stopping the disease from spreading. Success depends on high doses of toxic drugs and radiation, so treatment often results in unpleasant side effects and can sometimes cause residual complications such as infertility. Patients who are in remission should have regular check ups with their doctor.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment