18 Feb What is Lymphoma or lymphoedema?
For some people, hearing anything that they don’t understand can be a little frightening.
This goes double when what they are hearing is a medical diagnosis that will affect them quite a bit in the future. This is the case for a lot of people when they first get the diagnosis of Lymphoma.
Of course, it doesn’t help that there seem to be a lot of medical conditions that are very similar sounding. Discovering what lymphoma is will be your first step to recover.
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So, what is lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes. These tiny cells are supposed to be of assistance with the immune system. When a lymphoma develops the cells tend to lump together and the lymphoma appears as a tumor. This tumor is often attached to the lymph nodes, which can be found on the sides of the throat and at other places throughout the body.
There are many different main kinds of lymphoma. The first is called Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is named after Thomas Hodgkin, the doctor who first wrote about it. The other lymphomas were being called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for a very long time but seeing as more and more lymphomas were appearing that weren’t related at all to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, this definition is difficult to keep up.
Recent numbers have the kinds of lymphomas up to somewhere around seventy. That’s seventy different kinds of a disease that are all lumped into the same category. The good news is that when you get lymphoma, at least the doctors have been able to isolate the problem, the bad news is now figuring out how to go about curing the problem.
There are several different ways to treat lymphoma. Often, there will be a surgery that will remove the tumor that has caused the lymphoma. Like many cancers, lymphoma can be treated with chemotherapy, which insures that the cancer doesn’t return to the body.
The good news is that, as medicine advances, we are getting more and more treatments that should be able to eliminate the problem of lymphoma. With any luck the diagnosis of this disease will be much easier and the treatment will be more effective. At present, lymphoma is a difficult disease to catch on time because the symptoms are very vague and often seem unrelated. There are also some lymphomas that don’t seem to cause a lot of problems for the patient and only need to be monitored. Deciding the right course of action with your lymphoma is something you should talk about with your doctor.
For more information about what is lymphoma, please feel free to browse around our blog and FAQs about lymphoma. We will do our best to maintain up to date information about lymphoma and symptoms of lymphoma.
(a) What is lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is an oedema or swelling of the tissues termed a ‘high protein oedema’. This condition is caused when normal lymphatic load into the tissues is greater than the available lymphatic transport out of the tissues, long term and over prolonged and indefinite periods of time.
(b) What causes lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is caused by compromised lymphatic function in an affected part of the body. The compromised lymphatic system allows excess protein to accumulate at a level greater then 2%. in the fluid bathing the cells of the body (interstitial fluid). Interstitial fluids are the fluids contained in the spaces between the cells in body tissues,
(c) Is there a cure for lymphoedema?
Until a way to regenerate a dysfunctional lymphatic system is devised, then the cure for lymphoedema is yet to be found. The most effective care for this condition is by persistent planned treatment to make a lymphoedema affected limb smaller and more normal. This is achieved by gradually treating the cause of the oedema and swelling. Outcomes of treatment are normally increased mobility and to generally make you feel better about how you look.
- Lymphoedema care re-routes excess protein (the cause of oedema/swelling) from a lymphoedema affected area to other areas of the body where the lymphatic system is functional. This allows protein to be naturally removed from the body tissues to be returned back to the blood circulatory system. Once this is achieved lymphoedema can be controlled, it will reduce in size and more easily be kept manageable, even if at this time there is no known permanent cure.
- If your lymphoedema is increasing in size, in most cases it will eventually have a period of stability or latency when it does not worsen and seems to settle down. This occurrence should not be confused with a cure for lymphoedema. Times may last for months or years. Many times after a period of stability (latency), lymphoedema affected limbs will commence activity again with resultant increased swelling and discomfort to grow larger. This is a normal progression of lymphoedema if left untreated.
- When lymphoedema is treated reductions can be best described as Lymphoedema in reverse as reductions often are achieved in stages and are sometimes spasmodic.
- With concentrated combination treatment, lymphoedema swelling may also be reduced quickly over a short period of time. In most cases after a fast reduction in size from a combination treatment, a time of waiting and application of maintenance therapy must elapse before the next significant reduction can be obtained.
- In the cooler times of winter Lymphoedema is more easily managed than in the warmer weather of summer. Winter is a good time to have, or commence lymphoedema reduction therapy.