Newly diagnosed with Lymphoma? Start your Cancer education here.
Vital to helping you understand your condition and manage your care is keeping track of important phone numbers, treatment history, side effects, and laboratory results, such as your complete blood count (CBC). Use these tools to help organize this information so you can be an active participant in your cancer care. Keep them handy for use at home and bring them along to your doctor visits and other medical appointments.
- Important Contacts
- Health and treatment history
- Copies of reports – Blood tests, Pathology reports, etc
What is Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that start in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system – the body’s defense against infection. The marrow and lymphocytes are part of the immune system. Some other parts of the immune system are the lymph nodes, the lymphatic vessels, which connect the lymph nodes and contain lymph (a liquid that carries lymphocytes), and the spleen. Lymphomas generally start in lymph nodes or lymphatic tissue in sites of the body such as the stomach or intestines. Lymphomas may involve the marrow and the blood in some cases.
Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that occurs when lymphocytes–white blood cells that help protect the body from infection and disease–begin behaving abnormally. Abnormal lymphocytes may divide faster than normal cells or they may live longer than they are supposed to.
Because lymphatic tissue is in many parts of the body, Hodgkin lymphoma can start almost anywhere. Usually, it’s first found in a lymph node above the diaphragm, the thin muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. But Hodgkin lymphoma also may be found in a group of lymph nodes. Sometimes it starts in other parts of the lymphatic system.
Lymphoma may develop in many parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, or other organs. Hodgkin lymphoma begins when a lymphocyte (usually a B cell) becomes abnormal. The abnormal cell is called a Reed-Sternberg cell.
There are two main types of lymphomas:
- Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) – There are five types of HL, an uncommon form of lymphoma that involves the Reed-Sternberg cells. The number of these cells increases as the disease advances.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) – There are more than 25 types of NHL, some of which are more common than others. Any lymphoma that does not involve Reed-Sternberg cells is classified as non-Hodgkin’s.
Signs and symptoms of lymphoma may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpit or groin
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) is one place to start your information gathering process. For the newly diagnosed, click here for the best starting place. LRF has downloadable fact sheets in 3 languages; English, Spanish and Chinese. Additional information on clinical trials and news is available as well as patient support groups.
The latest issue of their magazine is also available as a download.
The National organization for Leukemia and Lymphoma – The Leukemia-Lymphoma Society is another reliable resource. Click here for the easiest way to navigate this site if you or a loved one is newly diagnosed. Unlike some forms of cancer, there are some signs and symptoms of this disease. They have included the symptoms but you have to go through each type of blood cancer to find the signs. We found this a little difficult to navigate quickly. The section on disease information was thorough and written for non medical speaking individuals.
Many pages are available in multiple languages; French, Spanish and Portugese. This organization also provides a live chat line. This site also has some financial support information.
For explanations of the major types of blood Cancers, click here.