Cancer Types - Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a general term for cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. Hodgkin's disease is one type of lymphoma. All other lymphomas are grouped together and are called non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Lymphomas account for about 5 percent of all cases of cancer in this country. The Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute offers screening, diagnostics and the full array of treatment options to detect and treat lymphoma.

Symptoms

Lymphoma

Symptoms of Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma may include the following:

  • Unexplained fever, recurrent fevers
  • Night sweats
  • Constant fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Reddened patches on the skin
  • A painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin

Diagnosis

If lymphoma is suspected, a series of tests and exams may be performed, including the following:

  • X-rays: Pictures of areas inside the body created by high-energy radiation.
  • CT scan: A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an X-ray machine.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Detailed pictures of areas inside the body produced with a powerful magnet linked to a computer.
  • Lymphangiogram: Pictures of the lymphatic system taken with X-rays after a special dye is injected to outline the lymph nodes and vessels.

A biopsy is needed to make a diagnosis. A surgeon removes a sample of tissue so that a pathologist can examine it under a microscope to check for cancer cells.


Treatment

A treatment plan is developed to fit each patient's needs. Treatment may include the following therapies:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. The Medical Oncology/Hematology Division at Sinai Hospital directs the chemotherapy program at LifeBridge.

 

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. The Department of Radiation Oncology at Sinai Hospital provides the most advanced radiotherapy for many cancers.

Biological therapy (also called immunotherapy)

Biological therapy is a form of treatment that uses the body's immune system, either directly or indirectly, to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects that can be caused by some cancer treatments. It uses materials made by the body or made in a laboratory to boost, direct or restore the body's natural defenses against disease. Biological therapy is sometimes called biological response modifier therapy.

Surgery

Surgery may be performed to remove a tumor. Tissue around the tumor and nearby lymph nodes may also be removed during the operation.


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies conducted with people who volunteer to take part in them. The study examines questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat a disease. People who take part in cancer clinical trials receive up-to-date care from experts.

For trials that are currently available to lymphoma cancer patients, click here.


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