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What We Should Know About Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

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What Doctors Know About Slow Growing Non Hodgkin s Lymphomas

Slow Growing Lymphoma Why Early Detection is Difficult

What is a Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a kind of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system of a person. This type of cancer is not limited to one kind. Lymphoma is classified into two main groups the Hodgkin's lymphoma named after the scientist Thomas Hodgkin's who originally discovered the disease in 1832 and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which is the collective classification of the around 30 types of lymphoma which were discovered after the initial discovery of Thomas Hodgkin's in 1832. The 30 types of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma exhibit different characteristics and have different behaviors. That is why it is very important that when diagnosing Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the cancer management team should be able to identify which type affects the patient in order to be able to recommend the appropriate treatment process.

There are two general behaviors that Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma exhibits. First, there is the indolent Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is slow growing and low grade. A typical slow growing lymphoma causes no symptoms at first and could remain undetected for a period of time. There are many cases where the patient already has the disease in his or her body for more than a year and he or she never had any symptoms at all.

Often times slow growing or indolent Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is more often detected by accident when the patient undergoes routine check-ups. There are many cases of indolent lymphoma found after the patient had taken an X-ray or have taken some blood test for some other reasons. During routine physical exams, the doctor may notice lumps in the lymph nodes or abnormally in the blood of an otherwise healthy looking person. These finding
should never be ignored and further test to ascertain the real situation should be conducted right away to catch the disease at the early stages. Like all other cancers, catching the disease at an early stage would greatly improve the prognosis of the patient so it is very important not to ignore any early signs of the disease.

Because slow growing Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma does not have symptoms at first, there are many cases where the lymphoma is already in the advanced stage before it is discovered. However, since this type of lymphoma is slow growing, the patient can still live a relatively normal life after treatment even if the cancer is not totally cured. Slow growing lymphoma if ever would recur will also grow very slowly and is easier to manage than those aggressive cancer cells.

On the other hand, aggressive Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is fast growing high-grade type, which manifests symptoms at an early stage. Most patients would feel symptoms early and therefore go to the doctor while the lymphoma is still in the early stages. Although aggressive lymphoma may sound frightening especially when the rate of its growth and spread on the body is quite fast, these types of lymphomas usually respond very well to treatment. Unlike slow growing lymphomas, which often take more type to respond to treatments, aggressive lymphomas are more treatable. Even if the aggressive lymphoma sometimes does not respond very well will first line, standard treatment, they often respond well to high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. In fact, aggressive lymphomas have higher chances of being completely cured than slow growing lymphomas.

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