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Get Treatment For Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment?

Our hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology, by which our medical professionals can diagnose and treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Since 1969, we have been providing the community of Los Angeles with healthcare, and we always strive to improve the quality of our services. If you struggle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, we strongly encourage you to come to Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, where you will receive the most effective treatment for your cancer in a warm and compassionate environment.

As a form of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a diagnosis that over 81,000 people in the United States receive every year. In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer arises from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that is an essential part of your immune system.

This malignant disease is significantly more common than Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the umbrella term used to describe the numerous subtypes of this cancer. This cancer mostly occurs in adults, but it can also develop in children. While in the majority of cases, non-Hodgkin lymphoma arises from lymphocytes, it can also cause damage to the skin. The major parts of the body where lymph tissue is found are the following:

  • lymph nodes:  these are bean-sized clusters of lymphocytes and other immune system cells spread throughout the body, such as inside the abdomen, pelvis, and chest, and are connected by a system of lymphatic vessels
  • spleen: located under the lower ribs on the left side of the body, the spleen releases lymphocytes and other immune system cells and also stores healthy blood cells, and filters out damaged blood cells and waste, together with bacteria
  • bone marrow: the bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside of some bones, and it is also where new blood cells, including lymphocytes, are made
  • thymus: this gland is a small organ behind the upper part of the breastbone and in front of the heart and plays a crucial role in the development of certain lymphocytes
  • adenoids and tonsils: these are accumulations of lymph tissue in the back of the throat that helps make antibodies to fight germs that are breathed in or swallowed
  • digestive system: the stomach, intestines, and numerous other organs of the digestive system also have lymph tissue

Depending on factors such as the stage of your cancer, the extent to which it has spread throughout your body, your general health, your age, and your preferences, the purpose of the treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma can be to cure the disease, to keep it under control or to help ease your symptoms caused by it.

There are 2 types of treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, namely local and systemic. While the former removes, destroys, or controls malignant cells in one area of the body, the latter is used to destroy or control malignant cells that have spread throughout your body. The following are the most effective treatments for non-Hodgkin lymphoma:

  • chemotherapy: this treatment entails receiving a drug in the form of a pill or injection, whose purpose is to destroy as many cancerous cells as possible, and the most effective chemotherapy medications for non-Hodgkin lymphoma are cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, prednisone, and vincristine
  • radiotherapy: this treatment uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, to destroy malignant cells, and during it, you are positioned on a table, and a large machine directs radiation at specific points on your body
  • bone marrow transplant: also known as a stem cell transplant, bone marrow transplant implies the use of high doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to decrease the size of your bone marrow, which will subsequently be replaced by healthy bone marrow
  • monoclonal antibody therapy: some types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma respond well to treatment with monoclonal antibody therapy, a treatment that involves receiving medications that attach themselves to both healthy and malignant cells and signal to the immune system to attack and kill the cancerous cells
  • steroid medication: this medication is often used in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is usually given to you as tablets or injections at the same time as chemotherapy

There are over 30 types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the most common and aggressive being the following:

  • diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • anaplastic large-cell lymphoma
  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • lymphoblastic lymphoma
  • mantle cell lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma
  • marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
  • MALT lymphoma
  • small-cell lymphocytic lymphoma

Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Some people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma do not experience any symptoms, despite their cancer being in advanced stages. Nevertheless, the most common symptoms of this disease are the following:

  • lymph node inflammation in areas like the armpits, neck, or groin
  • abdominal pain or swelling
  • chest pain
  • persistent coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • night sweats
  • unexplained weight loss

Diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

The diagnostic process of non-Hodgkin lymphoma begins with your doctor asking you about the symptoms you are experiencing. You should provide your physician with as many details as you know about the intensity and frequency of your symptoms so that they can correctly assess your condition.

Subsequently, they will conduct a physical exam during which they will look for swollen lymph nodes on your neck, underarm, and groin. They will also examine you to determine whether your spleen or liver is enlarged. If they suspect non-Hodgkin lymphoma, they will order some of the following tests:

  • blood and urine tests: these tests are useful in ruling out other causes of the inflammation of your lymph nodes, such as infections
  • imaging tests: X-rays, as well as a CT or MRI scan, will provide your doctor with clear and detailed images from the inside of your body so that they can see whether there are tumors in your body
  • lymph node biopsy: during a biopsy, a small sample of the lymph node or, in some cases, the entire lymph node will be taken out to subsequently be examined by a pathologist for malignant cells
  • bone marrow test: a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration are two procedures that involve inserting a thin and hollow needle in your hipbone to remove a tiny sample of bone marrow, which will then be analyzed by a pathologist for the presence of cancerous cells

While the exact cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has not yet been found by medical researchers, certain factors can increase the chances of developing this cancer, such as:

  • age: people between the ages of 60 and 70 are most likely to receive a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • gender: men are slightly more prone to coming to struggle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma than women
  • bacterial infections: some types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma have a strong connection to bacterial infections, such as MALT lymphoma, which is believed to be caused by infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori
  • viruses: the Epstein-Barr virus, which is responsible for mononucleosis, is associated with some types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, such as Burkitt lymphoma, lymphomas occurring after organ transplants, and, in rare cases, other lymphomas in healthy people
  • immune deficiency disorders: having immune system disorders such as HIV/AIDS increases your risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • autoimmune disorders: people who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren syndrome have a higher risk of developing certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and some medications used to treat such autoimmune disorders can increase the likelihood of coming to struggle with this malignant disease
  • organ transplantation: the recipients of organ transplants have a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is due to the medication they must take to reduce immune system function to protect the transplanted organ from rejection
  • previous cancer treatment: if you underwent treatment for another malignant disease in the past, this might increase your risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • chemical exposure: exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and petrochemicals can also increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • vaccines: a series of studies have found a link between Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccination and a higher risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • breast implants: although this is rare, having breast implants may increase your risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • exposure to ionizing radiation: this can refer to exposure to radiation from atomic bombs, nuclear reactor accidents, and medical radiation therapy
  • being overweight or obese: carrying extra pounds was found to increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma

While there is no known way to prevent the occurrence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, since medical specialists do not exactly know what causes it, you can avoid certain risk factors, such as:

  • chemical exposure, by wearing adequate protective equipment when working with toxic agents
  • exposure to ionizing radiation by wearing appropriate equipment to shield you from radiation
  • obesity, by maintaining a healthy weight for your height through a balanced diet rich in nutrients and exercising regularly
  • breast implants, by opting not to get them if you intend to

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