Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system and is classified as a blood cancer, along with leukemia and myeloma. It is one of the most common cancer types and accounts for over 4 percent of all cancer diagnoses.
General Symptoms of Lymphoma
Each type of lymphoma has specific symptoms that are unique, but there are patterns that appear in nearly all types that include:
- Night sweats (soaking the bedsheets and pajamas even though the room temperature is not too hot)
- Fever and chills that come and go
- Itching all over the body that cannot be explained
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, groin, or other areas
- Unplanned / unexplained weight loss
- Coughing or shortness of breath if the cancer affects the thymus gland or lymph nodes in the chest, putting pressure on the windpipe (trachea) or other airways
- Abdominal pain or swelling, leading to loss of appetite, constipation, nausea, and vomiting
- Pain in the lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
If you have noticed something suspicious, visit your primary doctor or one of our caring physicians throughout Central Kentucky. We’ll perform a thorough check-up and recommend any additional screenings, if needed.
To request a referral to one of our caring specialists, call 844.303.9355, or find a provider anytime online.
There are two main types:
- Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of lymph tissue. Lymph tissue is found most commonly in the lymph nodes but can also be present in the spleen, liver, bone marrow, digestive tract, and almost every site around the body.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the white blood cells and impacts the body’s immune system.
While each type of lymphoma has its own risk factors, there are some that have been seen in nearly every type:
- Hereditary factors / family history
- Viral infections
- Most lymphoma occurs in adults over 60
- Caucasians are more likely to develop lymphoma than African-Americans or Asian-Americans
- The overall risk is higher in men than women, although certain types are more common in women for unknown reasons
- Radiation exposure
- Autoimmune disease / compromised immune system
- Certain bacterial infections
- Exposure to weed and insect killing chemicals
If you have a family history of bone cancer, it is possible to test for hereditary cancer syndromes. One of CHI Saint Joseph Health's genetic counselors can work with you and your doctors to determine if you are at risk for certain cancers and steps that should be taken to prevent cancer cells and tumors.
There are currently no routine tests for lymphoma, so if you find that you are at risk, or showing one or multiple symptoms, it is important to seek help from a medical professional. At CHI Saint Joseph Health, we have primary care physicians and specialists who can perform preliminary testing to help make a diagnosis.
If you find that you have lymphoma, rest assured you have some of the Commonwealth’s best experts by your side. Our dedicated team—including board-certified surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and more specialists—work closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan. This may include one or a combination of:
Surgery may be performed to get a biopsy sample to diagnose and classify a lymphoma, but it is rarely used as a form of treatment.
Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells with medicines delivered in varied cycles through either an IV or a pill. It is usually given if the tumor has returned or spread. Whenever possible, CHI Saint Joseph Health uses newer medications that help minimize the side effects of chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to shrink or kill cancer cells. Radiation may also be used to help prevent recurrence of disease. These brief, painless treatments can be specifically directed at the part of the body where the cancer is located. Treatments are delivered by linear accelerators, where patients lie on a table in a specially designed room.
CHI Saint Joseph Health uses the most advanced technology available to target the tumor with extreme precision. Treatments include 3D conformal therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric modulated radiation therapy (VMAT). Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and use of a hexapod table ensure treatments are focused directly on the target, while minimizing dose to surrounding healthy tissue.
Bone Marrow Transplants
In some cases, a bone marrow transplant (also called a stem cell transplant) is an option. The procedure is used to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells, which are immature cells in the bone marrow that give rise to all of your blood cells. A bone marrow transplant replaces bone marrow that either is not working properly or has been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation.
Throughout your journey, you’ll find a variety of cancer support services to meet your physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. We’ll help you coordinate your care, answer any questions and provide extra comfort and support every step of the way.