What is Lymph Node Cancer – Classification, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Introduction of Lymph Node Cancer: The natural protection system of our body is the immune system. Cells associated with this system are the B, T and NK. They are stored in round ball-shaped organs present all over the body known as the Lymph nodes.

When cancer affects any organ of the body, it is natural to observe these organs swelling up. Such a development in the body surely indicates that the body is under serious threat from the foreign invasion. Based on the extent of swelling of the Lymph nodes, stage and mode of cancer treatment are decided. Lymph node cancer is the condition when cells associated with this organ themselves turn malignant.

According to the United States National Institutes of Health, this cancer constitutes five percent of all cancer types in this country and 55.6 percent of all blood cancers.

Classification of Lymph Node Cancer or Lymphoma:

In 1832, Thomas Hodgkin was the first person to describe this cancer. Since then several types of this cancer have been found. According to the latest list of World Health Organization released in 2001, there are 43 different types of this cancer broadly classified into four groups. These groups are:

Mature B Cell Neoplasms:

  • Primary Effusion Lymphoma
  • Mantle cell Lymphoma
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma
  • B cell prolymphocytic Lymphoma
  • Plasma cell myeloma
  • Splenic marginal zone lymphoma
  • Heavy chain diseases
  • Plasmacytoma
  • Monoclonal immunoglobulin deposition diseases
  • Diffuse large B cell lymphoma
  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Nodal marginal zone B cell lymphoma
  • Mediastinal large B cell lymphoma
  • Extranodal marginal zone B cell lymphoma
  • Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia

Mature T Cell and NK Cell Neoplasms:

  • Blastic NK cell lymphoma
  • T cell prolymphocytic leukemia
  • Aggressive Leukemia of the NK cells
  • T cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia
  • Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma
  • Aggressive NK cell leukemia
  • Extranodal NK and T cell lymphoma of nasal type
  • Hepatosplenic T cell lymphoma
  • Enteropathy-type T cell lymphoma
  • Peripheral T cell lymphoma, unspecified
  • Blastic NK cell lymphoma
  • Primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Lymphomatoid papulosis
  • Mycosis fungoides / Sezary syndrome
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

  • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Lymphocyte-rich
  • Nodular sclerosis
  • Mixed cellularity
  • Lymphocyte depleted or not depleted

Immunodeficiency-associated Lymphoproliferative Disorders:

  • Associated with a primary immune disorder
  • Associated with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Primary central nervous system lymphoma
  • Associated with methotrexate therapy

Symptoms of Lymph Node Cancer:

  • Fever of unknown origin
  • Dyspnea or difficulty in swallowing
  • Anorexia
  • Pruritus
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis of Lymph Node Cancer:

If the cancer is diagnosed at a stage when it is localized in a region of the body, the five year survival rate is 82.1 percent. 28 percent reported cases fall in this category.

In 19 percent cases, the surrounding areas are affected by the disease, decreasing the survival rate for five years to 77.5 percent.

The cancer metastasis takes place in 45 percent cases and 59.9 percent patients are found affected by the cancer at this advanced stage.

The cancer is found to be belonging to no particular stage in 8 percent cases and 67.5 percent patients are found to survive for next five years after the diagnosis.

Treatment of Lymph Node Cancer:

Depending on the stage and type of the cancer, the medical history and the already existing complications of the patients, either radiotherapy or chemotherapy is used to treat this condition.

Sometimes, in rare cases, the disease spreads in an aggressive manner and the doctors might consider application of both the therapies technically known as the combinational therapy.

As the cells of the immune system are the targets here, people with compromised immune system like HIV patients are more at risk of developing this ailment.

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