Lymphoma is cancer that affects the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are produced in the bone marrow, lymphatic system and the spleen. These cells are very important since they protect the body from infections and help fight off disease-causing organisms. The lymphocytes are categorized into three types, the T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. Each category plays a very important role in fighting off infection, remove toxins and other harmful substance in the body and generally protect the body from invaders. When there is an infection, it is normal for lymphocyte count to go up.
When there is an abnormal production of lymphocytes and invades surrounding tissues as well as spread to the rest of the body, it becomes lymphoma or cancer in the lymphocytes.
There are two types of lymphomas, these are:
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Hodgkin lymphoma
Both types are cancers, but it affects different lymphocytes. It also progresses differently and has a different response to treatment.
The difference between lymphoma and leukemia, though both are cancers in the blood, leukemia starts in the blood stem cells inside the bone marrow, while lymphoma, affects the lymphocytes.
There is no known cause of lymphoma. However, there are risk factors involve that will likely allow you to get this medical condition:
- Weak immune system due to HIV/AIDS
- Any autoimmune disease that will cause havoc to your immune system
- Organ transplantation
- Have a medical history concerning an infection with viruses such as Epstein-Barr, hepatitis C or with human herpesvirus8 or HHV8
- Exposure to chemicals such as benzene or chemicals that kill bugs and weeds
- Have been treated with radiation or exposure to radiation
- Have a history of lymphoma
It is important to take note of warning signs such as the following:
- Weight loss without trying to
- Night Sweats
- Stomach pain
- Fatigue or overall weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen lymph nodes, often times in the groin, neck or armpits
These signs and symptoms may be due to other illnesses since lymphoma don’t have specific symptoms.
If you think you are suffering from Lymphoma you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Lymphoma as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).