Lymphoma simply means cancer of the lymphatic system. However, as simple as it sounds the disease is quite complex. So it is only natural to begin asking your doctor about lymphoma right from the start. But it is essential that you ask the right questions as well. Never be shy about asking questions that you think sounds stupid. Your future health is on the line so it is imperative that you be properly informed.
We often ask our doctors what causes lymphoma. Unfortunately, the answer to this question remains to be a big fat unknown. Doctors and scientists have yet to identify the singular cause of the cancer. However, what they were able to do was identify the different risk factors involve that might affect the development of lymphoma. It seems that prolong exposure to hazardous chemicals, herbicides, pesticides and even drugs that suppress the body’s immune system have been tied to the high chances of developing cancer of the lymphatic system. Avoiding these situations would be a good life choice or at the very least if you work in the industry where handling chemicals or pesticides are necessary you should take the necessary precautions to protect our bodies from harm.
You need to ask your doctor what type of lymphoma you have. There are two kinds: the Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is immediately identifiable under the microscope due to the presence of a particular cell. This is actually the most common kind of lymphoma. The rest of the cases that don’t adhere to the conditions and appearance of Hodgkin’s lymphoma are simply classified as non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Even though they have similarities, the two kinds of lymphoma use slightly different treatment procedures which are why it is important that your doctors are able to identify what kind you have.
How far the disease has spread and how serious is the condition? This is another pertinent information before treatment is implemented. There are basically four stages of lymphoma development. The first stage is where the cancer cells are just in one part of your body so far. At this stage the cancer cells are isolated in at least one lymph node. The second stage is more complex for the cancer cells are in two or more lymph nodes or regions. The cancer cells are located either above or below the diaphragm. This stage is also referred to as “locally advanced disease.”
The next stage is the “advance disease” which is the third stage already. The cancer cells at this point are already on both sides of the diaphragm. The final stage or stage four means the cancer cells have already spread to other parts of the body.
The next series of questions would be concerning the treatment. What are the treatment recommendations and what are the procedures for the treatment. There are a number of treatment options available. Among them is biologic therapy which uses methods like monoclonal antibodies, radioimmunotherapy, interleukin 2 and vaccines that boost the body’s capability of protecting itself from lymphoma. Other treatments include the conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Asking your doctor about lymphoma means to get all the information about the disease in order for you to be prepared physically, mentally and psychologically on the next steps that you would need to undergo.