Facts about Hodgkin’s Disease :
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that occurs on the lymphatic system. It causes inflammation of the lymph nodes on the neck and underarm. Teenaged group and young adults is the target of this rare disease. Sometimes it occurs on old aged people with weakened immunity. This cancer can affect the lymph nodes causing only a tumor or sometimes spread to the nearby parts spreading cancer cells. It can be treated by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Hodgkin’s disease is also known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Information on Lymph System :
Lymphatic system is one that prepares the body to fight against many infections. Lymph system is made up of lymph vessels (which has tissues all over the body), lymph (is the fluid that is transported through lymph nodes), and the lymph nodes (these are small organs found in our body that helps in removing unwanted substances). Lymph tissues are found mainly in neck region, armpit, groin and stomach.
Some of the common signs of Hodgkin’s disease are fever, chills, swelling of neck and armpits (due to inflammation of lymph nodes), night sweats, sudden loss of weight, itching and loss of appetite. Your neck or armpit region may become more sensitive to pain.
It is not known about the cause of Hodgkin’s disease. Since this is a disease related to immunity it can be related to cell mutation forming overly grown cells that gather in the lymphatic system forming a tumor. Classical Hodgkin’s disease is the most common type of cancer affecting the lymphatic system. There are several sub-types of classical kind of lymphoma. A very rare type can also develop on the lymph in which large sized abnormal cells are found resembling popcorn.
Any type of cancer is always staged and differentiated so that the doctor can start relevant treatment. Staging differs with regard to the location of lymph nodes and how far the cancer has spread.
- First stage: In this stage cancerous cells are present only in one of the lymph nodes like neck or armpit.
- Second stage: At this point, cancer causing cells would have invaded two or more lymph node groups. However it would affect only one side of the diaphragm.
- Third stage: At this stage more lymph nodes are invaded and cancer would have spread to both the sides of diaphragm.
- Final stage: This is the final stage in which lymphoma cells would have invaded more number of lymph nodes and organs like lungs or liver.
Who are at risk?
A person having a family history of Hodgkin’s disease, a person of young age or old aged, being a male and a person with infection of Epstein Barr is more likely to develop this disease. People with weakened immunity or with autoimmune disorders are prone to develop Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The doctor would look for the symptoms like weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. He would order for series of tests like blood profile, live function test, imaging tests like X-ray, CT/MRI scanning depending on the symptoms and intensity of the cancer.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Hodgkins lymphoma :
The doctor will take into account your health, age, and stage of cancer before deciding on the treatment option. Chemotherapy is the first line treatment available for Hodgkin’s disease. It is either given in the form of oral pills or as IV fluids. The drugs would travel into the blood destroying cancer cells all over the body. This method of treatment is combined with radiation in many people with early stages of cancer. Side effects of chemotherapy include loss or hair, loss of appetite, nausea, pain and fever. It depends on the drug given for chemotherapy. In rare cases side effects can damage the heart and liver if medications are given for long period.
Radiation therapy is given in the form of high powered beam of light to destroy cancerous cells. The patient will be lying on the table and radiation machine will move around him/her targeting specific (marked) areas of the body. This approach can cause scarring of skin, fatigue and loss of hair.
Stem cell transplant is done for some people with Hodgkin’s disease. New stem cell that gets transplanted into the body will produce healthy blood cells and destroy cancerous cells. It is given as in-patient treatment through a long tube inserted into the vein of the neck or chest. The stem cell can be taken from the patient (before receiving chemo) or from close relatives of the patient.
Coping and Lifestyle Changes :
- It would be challenging task to fight with Hodgkin’s disease. You need to eat and sleep well and make regular checkups and follow up treatment with your doctor.
- Loss of appetite is the most common side effect of any therapy for cancer and you should overcome it by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- After completing 4-5 chemotherapy sessions you will be tested again to verify if cancer cells are completely destroyed. Make up to your appointment and closely monitor your health to prevent the disease from recurring.