Burkitt’s Lymphoma – A Detail Discussion

B cells are a type of cells from the immune system which are primarily responsible for defending the body from foreign organisms. When these cells turn rogue, the cancer is known as

Burkitt’s Lymphoma

. It is named after Dr. Denis Parsons Burkitt, a surgeon, who first discovered the ailment in 1956.
It affects two percent of people affected with cancer where the rogue cells belong to the same class of blood cells. It’s five year survival rate in adults is nearly 50 percent. It is highly aggressive by nature and mostly affects the children.

What are the Symptoms of Burkitt’s Lymphoma?

  • Salivary gland tumor
  • Jaw tumor
  • Lump in the jaw
  • Cervical lymph node tumor
  • Abdominal tumor
  • High fever
  • Excessive sweating at night times
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Facial bone tumor

There are two types of this cancer, namely the Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma and Sporadic Burkitt Lymphoma. The former is the most common cancer in children from Central Africa. Chronic malaria accompanies this cancer. A virus, Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) infects the body and malaria aids in spreading of the cancer by reducing the resistance power of the body. The symptoms of Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma are:

  • Swelling of the facial bone
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Digestion problems
  • Weakness even when at rest

When Burkitt’s Lymphoma spreads in countries other than Africa, it comes under the category of Sporadic Burkitt Lymphoma. There are some reports of this cancer in European countries. Though there are similarities in the origin and spreading of this ailment, the signs vary to a large extent with the endemic type. These signs of Sporadic Burkitt Lymphoma are:

  • Bone marrow swelling
  • Tumor in caecum
  • Tumor in the ileum
  • Swelling of the cheek bone
  • Tumors in the salivary gland
  • The cancer can itself be a symptom for AIDS

How to Treat Burkitt’s lymphoma?

Electrophoresis is a diagnostic technique available to diagnose the tumor. It can be removed by surgery if it is diagnosed early. Chemotherapy is the treatment to which the cancer responds quickly. But the patients should be closely monitored along with sufficient hydration to combat the side effects of this technique. Other treatment options are immunotherapy, bone marrow transplant and radiotherapy.

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