Killing Cancer Cells: Chemo or Radiotherapy for Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a form of cancer that develops in any one of the body’s lymphatic tissues. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Both adults and children may be inflicted with this disease. More than one thousand five hundred children younger than twenty years old are diagnosed with this disease every year, in the United States alone.
Lymphatic tissues are the lymph glands, tonsils, adenoids and thymus. Bone marrow and spleen are also included here.There are therefore, various types and sub-types of lymphoma but the two most common lymphomas are Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Is chemotherapy or radiotherapy the best treatment for lymphoma? The answer here depends on the severity of the disease at the time of its diagnosis. Before we dig deeper into which type of treatment is the best recourse, let us first look at what Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, shortened to HL, and was formerly called Hodgkin’s disease. As you may have guessed, this disease was named after Hodgkin, Thomas Hodgkin to be exact. He was the first one to formally describe this type of disease that affects lymphocytes back in the late 1800s.
Lymphocytes are white blood cells. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma developed from an abnormality in the lymphocytes, particularly the B cells, which then has spread over to the body’s lymph nodes and other part of the lymphatic tissues. The presence of RS cells is the first concrete determinant that a patient has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
One of the tell-tale signs for this type of lymphoma is a visibly enlarged lymph node. This is a painless node and is commonly found in the following areas: neck, armpit, groin and collarbone. Sometimes, enlarged lymph nodes are found on the chest which could be cause for breathlessness.
Weight loss of about ten percent of the patient’s weight within six months, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, night sweats, appearance of rashes and tiredness may also be experienced by the patient.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, usually shortened to NHL, is a type of lymphoma that also originates from lymphocytes but it is not limited to just the B cells. It may be a result of the abnormalities of either the B cells or the T cells.
The symptoms of this form of lymphoma are actually similar to those of HL’s. The difference in type will only be determined under a microscopic inspection of the cancer cells.
Is Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy the Best Treatment for Lymphoma?
To go back to the question previously mentioned, the best way to answer this is with the help of your doctors. A patient may also want to do his own research as well as ask cancer organizations about treatment options for the type of lymphoma found in the body.
There are many sub types of NHL and HL and it is for this reason that more extensive tests need to be done in order to determine the sub type because it is only then that the proper therapy will be determined.
The early stages of cancer, IA and IIA, are often treated with only one type of therapy; either chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Later stages are often treated through a combination of both. It has been noted that radiation therapy may have adverse effects which will only begin to manifest in a patient forty years after treatment.
These negative effects include cardiovascular disease and lung disease. It is therefore important to openly discuss with the oncologist about the effects the prescribed treatments may have on a patient in later life. Alternative medicine for this is curcumin and cordyceps sinensis.