Lymphoma prognosis

Lymphoma, in its simplest explanation is a form of cancer, most commonly developed within lymph systems of the body. Lymph systems have multiple interrelated functions such as fighting off infections, removal of interstitial fluid from tissues, absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats to the circulatory system. Clumps of lymph-nodes are abundantly found in the human body, especially in that of the armpit, neck, groin and the upper thoracic areas.

Lymphoma cancer most commonly is classified as Hodgkin’s lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma has a survival rate of 90% if the disease is being detected at the early stages, and is only one of the few types of cancers that has very high survival rates even in the later stages. There are more than 35 types of lymphoma’s, including 5 types of Hodgkin’s and 30 types of non-Hodgkin.

Lymphoma survival rates depend on several things, including:

  • Specific type of lymphoma (Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s, indolent or aggressive)
  • Stage of the disease
  • Age at diagnosis
  • Prior or existing health problems

The growth rates of the Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are especially important factors in determining the prognosis of the disease. Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects the immune system, with the cancer spreading slowly – advancing within one lymph node cluster onto the next. While non-Hodgkin’s generally affect the white blood cells, lymph nodes and spleen. A person diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s might be successfully treated and entered into remission for one type of cancer, only to be later diagnosed with another type or form of the disease.

The stage of the disease can be effectively determined by how much the cancer has spread in the body. Stage one generally describes the cancer within only one particular lymph node, whereas the stage two denotes two nodes being affected by the cancer. Stage Three of Lymphoma occurs when lymph in both the lower and upper torso are affected. Lymphoma – stage four occurs when the cancer spreads from the lymph nodes on to various other organs of the body, including the likes of blood and the bone marrows. The stage four of lymphoma is generally considered as a very advanced form of cancer and the prognosis is very poor.

The age of patients also plays a very important factor in determining the survival rate. Younger patients have higher survival rates with some having a 5 year survival rate as high as up to 95%. In most cases it is seen that survival rates are higher for men than women, indicating sex of the patients being an important attribute of Lymphoma.

A good prognosis, however, depends on the patient being a relatively healthy person, free from any other diseases or sufferings upon diagnosis. Those who are suffering from other health problems or relapsed from previous treatments generally tend to have a poor prognosis. Treatment for lymphoma is generally aimed at destroying as many lymphoma cells as possible and inducing a complete remission. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the two principle forms of treatment. Radiation therapy uses high energy rays to damage cancer cells and stop their growth. Most often patients receive radiation therapy 5 times a week for several weeks as outpatients. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. To treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a combination of drugs that work together are usually prescribed , and is generally given in cycles of treatment followed by rest periods. Advanced treatment options for some non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include stem cell transplantation and watch-and-wait strategy, and for patients with specific types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – immunotherapy is used.

Regular follow-up exams are important for anyone who has been treated with lymphoma. Patients treated for lymphoma has an increased risk of developing other types of cancer later in life.

Last updated on Aug 12th, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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