Lymphoma is a hematological malignancy that affects the blood cells (lymphocytes). Lymphocytes (white blood cells) are part of the body's immune system. Lymphoma affects the lymph nodes and other types such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.
World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD) is held on September 15 every year and is a day dedicated to raising awareness of lymphoma, an increasingly common form of cancer. It is a global initiative to raise awareness about lymphoma. WLAD was initiated in 2004 to raise public awareness of all lymphoma subtypes in terms of symptom recognition, early diagnosis, and treatment.
Around the world, more than 735,000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma, every year. With this lesser-known type of cancer, patients face a variety of unique challenges and rely on their cancer specialist doctors throughout their treatment
On the occasion of World Lymphoma Day, we at Medicircle are conducting an exclusive awareness series to impart basic knowledge and encourage people to know about lymphoma to detect cancer at an early stage.
Dr. Rahul Bhargava is a Haematologist and Oncologist in Fortis Memorial Hospital. He is the director of stem cell transplant at Fortis Memorial Hospital. He is also providing services as Director of the Stem cell transplant surgical unit at Artemis Hospital Gurgaon. He was instrumental in setting up one of the most successful transplant units in entire North India. He has successfully completed 100+ transplants which is a great achievement and a record in North India. His other achievements are - He is the only doctor in India who has done maximum transplant in multiple sclerosis. Dr. Rahul has also won the Med-Achiever’s iconic award for his significant contribution in the field of hematology through the management of blood-borne disorders and stem cell transplants in 2018. He also received an award in excellence in hematology and stem cell transplant for Hon'ble Union Minister in 2018. He also received the best hematology stem cell transplant presented by healthcare in 2018. Dr. Rahul was awarded the best doctor award by Six Sigma Healthcare in recognition of achievements and contributions to deliverable systems in 2013.
Is lymphoma cancer?
Dr. Rahul informs, “Lymphoma is not cancer. Because we have misconceptions about cancer like-
Cancer is an untreatable Cancer treatment which is chemotherapy has side effects Chemotherapy is expensive
In this year 2021, Lymphoma doesn't qualify as cancer because-
The treatment is not expensive 80 % of lymphoma is treatable Treatment can be done at home.
So, do not scare patients by saying lymphoma is cancer. Lymphoma is a disorder of WBCs and we have treatment for lymphoma which kills the lymphoma cells.”
Types of Lymphoma
Dr. Rahul informs,” Lymphoma is a mix of 30-40 disorders. It is of two types-
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Hodgkin’s lymphoma
To know the type of lymphoma, a biopsy is important. A biopsy is not expensive. We need to know about biopsies. A biopsy is a very important investigation to find out whether the tumor is cancerous or noncancerous. A biopsy is a safe procedure and does not cause cancer. A biopsy helps us to know about the type of cancer which can help us to differentiate among the lymphoma.”
Symptoms of lymphoma
Dr. Rahul informs,” Lymphoma must be diagnosed by hematologists. There are many components of blood -
RBC helps to give red color to blood and prevents weakness WBC helps the body fight against infections. Lymph Nodes have higher WBC numbers which help in protecting the body. In lymphoma, the WBC’s do not divide and get replaced in lymph nodes causing tumor Fever Cough Weight loss Night sweats Increased lymph nodes Stomach ache
It is important to differentiate between TB and lymphoma. Every lymph node enlargement is not tuberculosis, Think of lymphoma. There is tagging of lymphoma. Rule out Tb and lymphoma with biopsy. It is important to spread awareness about TB and lymphoma symptoms are overlapping. If there is a tumor in the body, do not hide it under the carpet, approach your doctor right away. The tumor may start with the peanut side and we tend to ignore it till it enlarges. Now, in 2021, treatment for lymphoma is possible.”
Treatment of lymphoma
Dr. Rahul informs,” After knowing the symptoms and biopsy, with PETscan about the spread of lymphoma. It is important to know about stages -
Stage 1 is 90 % treatable Stage 4 is 60 - 70 % treatable
The treatment of lymphoma are-
Chemotherapy Oral medications Targeted therapy Radiation Immunotherapy - by boosting immunity cells Better supportive care
The medicines are not expensive and effective in lymphoma. People are going to get effective treatment with good survival treatment in lymphoma.”
Recurrence of lymphoma
Dr. Rahul says, “In 20 % of cases, lymphoma may cause recurrence.do not get scared in case of recurrence of lymphoma. The treatment in case of recurrence may differ which is as follows-
The second line of treatment Bone marrow transplant High dose chemotherapy
No doctor in the world would like a person suffering from lymphoma to die. Defeat cancer with will and understanding through transplant. Spreading awareness of treatment is very important. There are many revolutionary treatments for lymphoma.”
(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)