is classified as the uncontrollable growth of a specific type of white blood cell called a lymphatic cell
. It is a variant of Blood Cancer, but possesses enough unique properties to warrant individual analysis. There are 2 main types of Lymphatic Cancers: Hodgkin's Disease
, and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
. The specifics of both of these will be dissected in great detail down below.
Because Lymphoma affects the lymphatic system, it poses a direct threat to the immune system
. This is because lymphatic cells are a type of white blood cell. When functioning properly, these cells usually attack pathogens, bacteria, and viruses the moment they enter the body. Once these white blood cells are mutated through Lymphatic Cancers, the body begins to have difficulty fighting off even small viruses like mild colds. This has the effect of turning mild conditions into severe medical crises.
Let's start off by discussing each individual form of Lymphatic Cancers. As can be seen through the chart below, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (sometimes referred to as NHL) is far more common than Hodgkin's Disease. In fact, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is the 6th most prominent form of cancer in men, and the 5th most common in women
as of 2014. This forms a stark contrast with the other form of Lymphatic Cancer, as Hodgkin's Diseaes accounts for only 1% of all cancers
in the United States.
Most common forms of cancer (males)
- Non - Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is the most common form of Lymphatic Cancers, with around 8 cases documented for every one cases of Hodgkin's Disease. It is the 6th most common form of cancer in men, and the 5th most common cancer in women, thus posing a serious threat to everybody. Perhaps the most troubling fact is that the prominence of this disease has been persistently growing since the early 1970's, with an 83 percent increase being observed in the quarter-century following 1973.
Compounding its high prominence rate is the relatively low survival rates that patients who contract the disease experience. In fact, only 63 percent of patients survived more than 5 years after their original diagnosis. The statistics prove to be even more severe for high risk patients, with only 53 percent of such patients surviving beyond this same milestone.
Additional dangers of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma come from the fact that it can spread around the body fairly easily due to its tendancy to take over blood cells and that it is sometimes very difficult to discover early. The symptoms of the disease, while relatively noticable, are often mistaken as being something less severe due to their nonspecific nature. They may include: swollen lymph nodes, severe pain in the joints, chest, or abdomen, and whole body fatigue.
- Hodgkin's Disease
Hodgkin's Disease (sometimes referred to as HD) attacks the same area that Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma does: the lymphocytes. Hodgkin's Disease takes over these cells, and in doing so weakens the immune system. This has the adverse effect of making the body more prone to sickness. Because of this, the symptoms of Hodgkin's Disease are very similar to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
One of the most important factors in ensuring that Hodgkin's Disease is dealt with effectively is the stage at which the cancer is discovered. This can be seen through analyzing the relative survival rates by stage that those who contract the disease have historically faced. While the prognosis for the first 2 stages is relatively positive, with 90 percent of patients surviving 5 years or more, only 65 percent of patients whose cancer was discovered in stage IV achieved this same milestone.
The death rates of both Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
and Hodgkin's Disease
have been in rapid freefall since 1995. These successes have been seen even as the occurance of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - by far the most common form of Lymphatic Cancer - has skyrocketed. This fact has largely been attributed to the stunning advancements in science and medical technology that have been seen over the past few decades. The mortality rates for the primary forms of Lymphatic Cancer can be seen below.
Mortality Rates of NHL and HD (rate per 100,000)
The extreme advances in modern science and practice of medicine have resulted in the mortality rates for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Hodgkin's Disease taking a significant hit. All of the improvements have collectively laid the groundwork for new avenues of treatment that have both saved lives and improved comfort for patients around the world. Detailed below are descriptions of the technological advancements that have facilitated such growth, along with the medical staff that ensure their effective operation.
- Medical Staff
The first thing that is done once a patient is diagnosed with any form of Lymphatic Cancer is the establishment of a medical team that is specifically suited to meet the needs of that specific patient. The oncologist is a general cancer doctor that establishes the optimal treatment roadmap for the patient. The medical oncologist specializes in treating cancer with chemotherapy and various chemicals that have been proven to supress cancerous cells. Lastly, the Hematology pathologist is a doctor who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of blood diseases such as Lymphoma.
While treatment options can vary based on the type and stage of the cancer, treatment options for Lymphatic Cancers typically include: Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, and certain forms of Targeted Therapy. Sometimes, more than one type of treatment might be used in combination to better suppress the disease. When choosing which treatment plan is best for the patient, some important factors to consider include: the location and stage of the cancer, the patient's overall health, the chances of curing the disease, and the possible impact of the treatment on the blood and lymphatic system.
- Advancements in Immunotherapy
In its most basic form, immunotherapy is the practice of applying the immune system to combat the development and spread of cancerous cells. While such therapies have existed for some time now, recent developments have made this form of treatment significantly more effective and comfortable for the patient when applied against Lymphatic Cancers.
One such development has been the further application of vaccines to better help the immune system respond to the presence of cancerous cells. An example of this can be seen through Dendritic cell vaccines. It has been noted as the most successful attempt at utilizing vaccines as a means of combating cancer thus far, and works by helping the immune system to recognize cancerous cells. This allows the body to tell the difference between healthy cells and cells that need to be destroyed, and in doing so enables the patient to better combat cancerous cells without the extended application of harmful drugs.
However, there do exist flaws in the practical application of such medical technologies. For instance, many patients that are treated with such vaccines fail to respond in a meaningful manner. As with all emerging technologies, the process for undergoing them is incredibly complex and expensive, something that has limited their application significantly. That said, medical professionals remain hopeful that further research will produce results that are able to assist increasingly large amounts of people.
- Advancements in Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the application of a powerful drug or combinations of drugs to combat cancerous cells in the body. Although it is a treatment option that has historically been associated with negative side effects and inconsistent results, recent developments have sought to upset that understanding through the careful refinement of the practice.
There exist many new chemotherapy drugs that are currently being studied in clinical trials. One such drug, Bendamustine, has proven to be effective against particularly aggressive cases of Lymphoma. Although negative side effects were observed in several patients, developments such as this stand as a towering example of scientific advancements giving hope to people who otherwise have none. It is believed that additional research can further refine these emerging technologies through the means of making them a more effective and safe option for patients around the world.
While the mortality rates of Lymphatic Cancers have dropped in recent years, the disease still claims an unacceptable amount of lives. The incidence rate has shown no signs of letting up, with the number of people contracting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma nearly doubling since the early 1970's
. All of the organizations below stand as fantastic options to not only assist with relieving current patients of pain, but also preventing this problem from being as prominent in the future.
- Lymphoma Research Foundation
The Lymphoma Research Foundation is an organization that has long since established itself as one of the most reputable authorities in regards to the research and development of new Lymphatic Cancer treatments. They support the fight against Lymphatic Cancer on fronts both scientific and informational, and in doing so are able to actively engage the public in combating the disease while also taking valuable strides towards improving the safety and comfort of patients around the world.
The organization is notable due to its tireless support of research efforts that ultimately elevate our knowledge of the causes of Lymphatic Cancers and how to effectively combat them. The Lymphoma Research Foundation has awarded over $50 million to such efforts since its founding in 2011, and in doing so has taken meaninful strides towards making the issue of Lymphatic Cancers one of the past.
All of this has been achieved while maintaining a great deal of financial transparency. In accordance with this fact, Charity Navigator awarded them with a score of 97 out of 100 in regards to their accountability and transparency in regards to their finances and general operations.
This means that all those who donate to this organization can rest assured that their money is being spent in a way that is consistent with the needs of those who suffer from Lymphatic Cancers. You can assist them in their fight by clicking the button below to donate.
- Lymphoma Foundation of America
The Lymphoma Foundation of America is an organization that has remained selflessly dedicated to the eradication of Lymphatic Cancers since its inception in 1986. They approach this goal on a variety of fronts to ensure that all avenues of progress can be considered.
The Lymphoma Foundation of America is a foundation started in 1986, created by a group of people with Lymphoma, dedicated to the betterment of the quality of life and treatment of Lymphoma patients just like them all across the nation.
Their operations are extensive, with the scope of their services including: one on one counseling, educational programs, second opinions, and doctor suggestions from around the nation. They were responsible for organizing the first support group specific to Lymphatic Cancer patients in the United States, something that provides them with the context necessary to act on the behalf of such patients. You can click on the button below to assist them in this fight.
- Fight At No Cost
In order to succeed in the fight for life we must join together and connect. Through social media, the sharing of stories, and advancement in research we, together, have the opportunity to beat Lymphatic Cancers.