What is lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects our lymphatic system. There are main groups of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These two groups encompass about 30 different types of lymphoma.
Lymphoma develops in the lymphatic system, part of the immune system that helps filter out bacteria and fight disease. Most of us are familiar with the term lymph nodes, and they can become swollen in normal situations at any time in our lives—usually when we are sick or have an infection. When the cells in the lymph nodes begin to multiply rapidly, become malignant, and the developing condition is lymphoma.
What is cancer?
Your body is made up of many different types of cell, eg skin, bone and blood cells, among others. Your cells grow and divide to form new cells. These new cells replace cells that have grown old or become damaged and died. Cell division and cell death are normal processes that occur in your body. These processes are controlled by chemical signals.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes lymphoma. But it begins when a disease-fighting white blood cell called a lymphocyte develops a genetic mutation. The mutation tells the cell to multiply rapidly, causing many diseased lymphocytes that continue multiplying.
The mutation also allows the cells to go on living when other cells would die. This causes too many diseased and ineffective lymphocytes in your lymph nodes and causes the lymph nodes to swell.
Treatment plans weigh heavily on the type of lymphoma and the stage. There are four standard methods of lymphoma treatment: