Lymphoid cancer (Hodgkin's disease) is a malignant disease of the lymphatic system, in which lymphoid cells degenerate. A typical symptom is swollen lymph nodes, which, however, do not cause any pain. Other signs may include general symptoms such as tiredness, fever and significant weight loss. Lymphoma cancer can usually be treated well by chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy. The most important factor for the chances of recovery is the stage at which the lymphatic gland cancer is diagnosed.
Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Swelling or enlargement of a lymph node is called lymphoma. Such a tumor can be both benign and malignant. In malignant tumors, a distinction is made in medicine between Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The term non-Hodgkin's lymphoma covers all malignant lymphomas that are not Hodgkin's disease. When referring to lymph node cancer in this article, however, it is always referring to Hodgkin's disease.
Hodgkin's disease is relatively rare in comparison to other cancers in Germany. About 2, 000 people develop this form of lymphoma cancer each year. Hodgkin's disease is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30 and between 60 and 70 years.
It is characteristic of Hodgkin's disease that certain cell types are detected in the lymph nodes. The so-called Sternberg Reed cells arise from degenerate B lymphocytes, which multiply uncontrollably and do not die off. Due to the many degenerated white blood cells, the immune system of those affected in lymph node cancer is often weakened. Therefore, those affected are particularly susceptible to infections.
Causes of Lymphoma Cancer
The causes of lymphoma can be - as with many other cancers - so far not known. However, it is believed that certain viral diseases increase the risk of getting sick. Among other things, this should apply to persons who are infected with hepatitis B or C as well as the Epstein-Barr virus. Also, an infection with HIV should increase the risk of lymph node cancer.
In addition, scientists assume that genetic factors could also play a role. So far, however, no uniform genetic changes have been found in people with lymph node cancer.
Symptoms of lymphoma cancer
A typical symptom of lymphoma cancer are swollen, enlarged lymph nodes, which, however, cause no pain. Swollen lymph nodes, which occur in the context of infectious diseases such as a cold, on the other hand, hurt on pressure. For lymph node cancer, the swelling usually manifests over a period of several weeks. They occur in particular on the neck, but also in the armpits, in the chest and abdomen area or in the groin area.
In addition to swollen lymph nodes, there are other signs that may indicate lymph node cancer - but these symptoms are usually relatively unspecific. This can lead to the following symptoms:
- significant weight loss
- performance degradation
- strong nocturnal sweating as well as recurring fever
After drinking alcoholic beverages, pain in the diseased lymph nodes may rarely occur.
At a late stage, the cancer can also affect other organs such as the bone marrow, liver or spleen. Then there may be other symptoms such as enlargement of the spleen or anemia.
Lymphoma cancer: life expectancy and chances of recovery
Hodgkin's disease has a relatively good prognosis compared to other cancers. However, the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed is always decisive for the chances of a cure. If lymph node cancer is detected at an early stage, the chances of recovery are around 90 percent. But even at a later stage, the cancer can often still treat well.
The life expectancy of Hodgkin's disease depends on the stage at which lymph node cancer is detected, just like the chances of recovery. The five-year survival rate is between 90 and 95 percent.