At the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, briefly too NHL called, it is a rare cancer of the tissue of which, among other things, the lymph nodes consist or that surrounds them. The causes of the disease are not yet fully understood. Since it can occur in very different ways, the prognosis and therapy always depend on the individual case.
Under the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Doctors understand malignant tumors of the so-called lymphatic cells. These are present in various places in the body, including in the lymph nodes and their immediate surroundings.
Lymphatic cells are also found in the gastrointestinal tract or in the throat. They are responsible for the body's immune system. If the known Hodgkin lymphoma cannot be determined in a malignant disease of these cells, it is automatically a non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
However, both equally describe malignant tumors. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are divided into nodal (starting directly from the lymph nodes) and extranodal (not starting from the lymph nodes). After the first local appearance of the tumor, the cancer cells continue to spread through the bloodstream.
The exact causes for that Non-Hodgkin lymphoma are not yet clearly clarified. However, there are various risk factors that experts say can increase the likelihood of developing NHL. These include infections with certain viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus or the HI virus.
Chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa after a bacterial infection can also lead to an increased risk of NHL. Damage to the genetic make-up, for example through radioactive effects, constant contact with certain chemical agents and smoking for many years, can contribute to the development of the disease, as can increasing age. Most NHL patients are 70 years or older.
Schematic representation of the anatomy and structure of lymph nodes. Click to enlarge.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma does not initially cause any specific symptoms and therefore often remains undetected. Often, generalized lymph node swelling is the only symptom of the malignant disease. In contrast to the lymph node swelling in infectious diseases, the lymph nodes in non-Hodgkin lymphoma are indeed swollen, but not painful.
People with non-Hodgkin lymphoma also show an increased susceptibility to and susceptibility to infection. Some of the patients also report diffuse symptoms such as those that can occur with local inflammations or colds. These include loss of appetite, fatigue, and fatigue. These symptoms are caused by anemia (anemia).
Some of those affected also lose weight unintentionally. Other symptoms that can occur with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are paleness and generalized itching. Some patients also suffer from night sweats. The characteristics can be very different. So only a light and discreet film of sweat can form on the skin or the bed linen can be completely soaked in sweat.
In connection with night sweats, sleep disorders often occur, as those affected wake up either through sweating or the subsequent feeling of cold. However, none of these symptoms are specific to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but can also occur in other non-malignant diseases.
The doctor usually routinely examines the lymph nodes for various diseases.
A Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed in most cases based on swollen lymph nodes. A tissue sample provides the treating doctor with reliable information about the presence of the disease. A comprehensive physical examination will then determine how far this has progressed.
This includes a blood test, as well as x-rays and ultrasound. How the disease progresses in detail largely depends on how malignant the tumor actually is. If NHL is left untreated, the disease spreads through the blood throughout the body and ultimately leads to death of the patient. Life expectancy is only a few months with an unfavorable course and a so-called highly malignant tumor.
Various complications can arise from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They either show up directly through the cancer disease or are side effects of the therapeutic measures. Which disease-related sequelae result from non-Hodgkin lymphoma depends on the spread of the disease and which areas of the body are affected by it.
It depends on the size and location of the Hodgkin lymphoma, how great the pressure is on the adjacent structures and their functions. Complications from the treatment of the cancer are not uncommon in non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These are the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
This increases the risk that Hodgkin's lymphoma will develop into leukemia in the further course. It usually shows up about ten years after starting treatment. Radiation therapy can lead to lung cancer, breast cancer, or skin cancer.
Radiation therapy often causes side effects that occur shortly after treatment. These include gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and skin irritation. Pneumonia, heart inflammation, infertility or an underactive thyroid are possible long-term consequences.
In addition to radiation therapy, chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma can also trigger complications. Tissues with rapid cell turnover, such as skin, mucous membranes and bone marrow, are particularly affected. This is noticeable through nausea, vomiting and complete hair loss.
If growths appear in the chest and abdomen or on the throat, neck, and groin, the cause may be non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The person concerned should go to a doctor quickly and have the complaints clarified. The doctor can diagnose non-Hodgkin lymphoma using the typical examination methods and, if necessary, consult other specialists. People who have been exposed to high levels of radioactive radiation for work or as a result of an accident are particularly at risk.
Contact with chemical substances and infection with certain viruses and bacteria are risk factors that must be clarified in connection with the symptoms described. If the symptoms arise in connection with immunosuppressive or cytostatic therapy, the responsible doctor should be called in. The same applies to HIV infections and certain autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome. The general practitioner will involve other doctors, for example orthopedists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists and ear, nose and throat specialists, depending on the type and severity of the accompanying symptoms.
If mental problems arise as a result of the illness, the doctor will also refer the patient to a therapist. After the successful treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, physiotherapeutic measures are indicated to compensate for any movement disorders and to strengthen the body that has been weakened by the chemotherapy. Due to the relatively high risk of recurrence, medical supervision is necessary even after the end of therapy.
After a diagnosis of NHL has been made, the treating physician can initiate appropriate treatment. How exactly this looks like depends on the exact nature of the disease and how advanced it is. If the doctor diagnoses a form of NHL that is not aggressive and that also progresses slowly, therapy may not be necessary at first unless the patient has any symptoms.
Regular monitoring of the state of health is, however, strongly recommended, as this can change quickly and treatment must then be started. A very vicious one NHL disease can be combined with chemotherapy and treated with so-called antibody therapy. In the latter case, antibodies are supposed to help the immune system destroy the cancer cells.
Radioimmunotherapy can also be used as a support. If the tumor is localized, it may be possible to surgically remove it before the cancer cells spread further. Usually, however, chemotherapy or, alternatively, radiation therapy must take place here in order to completely remove the cancer.
Even in the event of healing, comprehensive follow-up care should be carried out regularly to prevent relapse. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma tends to recur even after extensive therapy.
The prognosis for non-Hodgkin lymphoma is considered unfavorable. The average life expectancy has decreased despite the best possible medical care with the current status of treatment options. If there is no comprehensive therapy, the lifetime is shortened by another. Death can then be expected within a few months.
The patient needs cancer treatment to prevent the pathogen from spreading. According to the current scientific guidelines, a cure for this disease is not possible. It is documented that a renewed outbreak of cancer can be expected within a few years, although treatment measures that have already been introduced have been successful. Regular check-ups are therefore necessary so that the next cancer therapy can be started immediately at the first signs and irregularities.
In coping with the disease, patients with a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet show the best results so far. In addition to the side effects of cancer therapy, knowing about the recurrence of the symptoms represents an enormous emotional burden for those affected. Therefore, to improve the prognosis, it is advisable to work with a psychotherapist. Otherwise the risk of suffering a psychological complication is increased. This in turn has a negative impact on the physical processes and the success of the necessary therapeutic measures.
Since the causes of the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Not yet fully clarified and the causes varied, prevention in the true sense is not possible. Risk factors such as smoking can be minimized by changing your lifestyle. If the first signs of NHL disease, such as swollen lymph nodes, are found, a doctor should be consulted immediately. The earlier the disease is recognized, the more favorable the prognosis.
In most cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, those affected have only very few and usually only limited direct follow-up measures available. This disease is a very rare condition that has not yet been fully explored. Therefore, the person affected should consult a doctor at an early stage so that there are no other complications and no further spread of the tumor.
Most of those affected are dependent on various measures with which the tumor can be removed. During treatment, most people need family support and care. Above all, psychological support is very important in order to prevent depression and other psychological upsets.
Even after the non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been successfully removed, regular checkups should be carried out by a doctor in order to detect and remove any further tumors in the body early on. If you want to have children, genetic testing and counseling are advisable in order to prevent the disease from recurring. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can also reduce the life expectancy of those affected in some cases.
Non-Hogdkin lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer in which the patient can do a lot in everyday life to improve his general condition and thus also his quality of life. This applies to physical complaints as well as to the psychological state. However, if over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements are used, prior consultation with the attending physician is urgently recommended.
In the physical area, it is often important to reduce the consequences of therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy as much as possible. A healthy diet and sufficient amounts of water are just as important here as getting enough sleep. In addition, the physical exercises that were learned in a possibly prescribed physiotherapy can also be continued at home. Strengthening the immune system and avoiding infections is also very important. Sport or at least regular exercise are important here. Infections from people in the immediate vicinity who have the flu, gastrointestinal infection or other contagious disease should be avoided.
In the psychological area, patients are often unable to cope with the severity of the illness, even if therapies may have long been completed. Self-help groups or discussions with relatives or friends can help here. Sociability is also an important factor: on the one hand because of the quality of life, on the other hand as a distraction from the cancer of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.