Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (LL), often referred to as just non-Hodgkin lymphomas, is a cancer that begins in the lymphocytes and also can spreads to other parts of our lymphatic systems. Lymphocytes are cells of the immune system. These cells are in the lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissues. To understand what lymphoma is, we must first understand the body’s lymphatic system. This system is the body’s immune system, and includes lymphoid tissue and organs such as the spleen and bone marrow (Mayo, 2015). Lymphoblastic lymphoma can originate in any lymphoid tissue, most commonly originate in lymph nodes. Like normally lymphocytes, transformed Band T cells tend to home in particular lymph node sites, leading to characteristic patterns of involvement.
Lymphoid tissue is made up of various kinds of immune system cells that help our body to fight infections. The main types of lymphocytes are B and T lymphocytes which perform different duties within the immune system. B lymphocytes help protect the body from germs by producing antibodies, while T lymphocytes can either directly destroy invading bacteria or viruses by phagocytosis or they can release substances that attract other white blood cells, which then digest the infected cells. The organs that contain lymphoid tissues are the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, adenoids and tonsils, GI tract and bone marrow (Mayo, 2015).
The classification of lymphoblastic lymphoma has been a bit of a puzzle. There was a system recently created that organizes lymphomas by their appearance under a microscope. This system is called the World Health Organization or WHO. Some of the different types of lymphomas include B-cell lymphomas which make up almost 85% of LLs, follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, and burkitt lymphoma. The most common of these is B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma (Mayo, 2015).
Some distinctive symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma include, but are not limited to: painless, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits and groin; abdominal pain or swelling; chest pain and trouble breathing; fatigue; fever; night sweats and weight loss. If any person has persistent symptoms this is when an appointment with a doctor needs to be made (Mayo, 2015).
In most cases, individuals diagnosed with LL do not have any obvious risk factors, and individual who do have the risk factors may never even develop the disease. With that said, there is still a need to be on watch for risk factors. Some medications that suppress your immune system serve as a risk factor. If any person has had a transplant the immunosuppressive therapy administered after prevents your body from fighting off new illnesses. Certain chemicals, like insecticides, may also increase the risk of developing LL. LL can occur at any age, but the risk increases with old age. It is most common in individuals age 60 and older (Mayo, 2015).
There have been tests developed to successfully and accurately diagnose LL. These tests include: physical examination, imaging tests, blood and urine tests, biopsy of lymph node tissue, and looking for the cancer cells in bone marrow. These are mainly precautions and may even turn up a negative result but if something is discovered treatment isn’t always necessary. Some lymphomas are slow moving, and with that your doctor may take the wait-and-see approach (Mayo, 2015).
Other lymphomas are very aggressive and require equally aggressive treatments. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and even a stem cell transplant may be necessary to save the life of an individual with LL. There are also things like medications that boost your body’s immune system to sort of slow the progression of the disease. Recently, the use of medications that deliver radiation directly to cancer cells has been used and has proven to be effective against this disease (Mayo, 2015).
A study conducted by the American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2015 about “71, 850″… people will be diagnosed with NHL or LL, both males and females. It also states that about “19, 790″… People will die from this cancer. The average American’s risk of developing LL during his or her lifetime is about 1 in 50. Each person’s risk may be affected by certain risk factors. Although some types of LL are among the more common childhood cancers, more than 95% of cases occur in adults (Cancer, 2015).
ReferencesAmerican Cancer Society. (March 11.2015). What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma? Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-hodgkinlymphoma/detailedguide/non-hodgkin-lymphoma-key-statisticsMayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (Jan 23.2015). Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/non-hodgkins-lymphoma/basics/treatment/con-20027792
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