Cancer is a scary word. But when you know all the facts, knowledge and understanding can reduce the fear. Find out everything you need to know about cancer and its effects...

Lymph Node Cancer

Our immune system is made up of small oval shaped balls called nodes that are interconnected by lymphatic vessels. These nodes are distributed throughout the body. These nodes are found in neck, armpit, stomach and gut. These nodes work like filters and remove bacteria and foreign bodies from our body. Lymph node cancer occurs at these nodes. Our immune system consists of these lymph nodes, thymus and bone marrow. Lymph nodes contain lymphocytes commonly known as white blood cells that help in fighting infections. The cancer in lymph nodes destroys the immune system of the body so that even a small infection becomes a killer disease.

Types of lymph node cancer

Lymph node cancer is one of the most common types of blood cancer and is also known as lymphoma. This cancer can be divided in two types.

The first one is primary lymph node cancer as in this; cancer starts at the lymph nodes.
The second one is known as secondary lymphoma as in this; cancer starts in other parts of the body and affects lymph nodes.
This type of cancer is can be further classified according to the type of tumor that affects the lymph nodes

When white blood cells develop cancer cells or B lymphocytes then it is called Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Any other lymphoma in which cancer cells develop in spleen, thymus or lymph nodes then it is called as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Symptoms

Most common and visible symptom of lymph node cancer is the swelling of lymph node. The swelling in the node is painless but causes pain by nodes pressing nearby nerves. There are many other symptoms like

Low fever for a long time

Fatigue and tiredness

Persistent itching

Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
Night sweating

Chest pain in case swelling of nodes is in chest area

Coughing and respiratory problems in case lymph node swelling puts pressure on trachea

Causes and Diagnosis

As in other types of cancer the exact cause of lymph node cancer is not clear. It is believed that this cancer is caused by the virus that is responsible for glandular fever as this virus affects lymph nodes only. Another major cause of this cancer is hereditary. The diagnosis of this cancer is done through blood tests once lymph node swelling is observed. The swelling of lymph nodes can occur due to many other reasons therefore biopsy of the swollen lymph node is the most conclusive way to diagnose this cancer.

Treatment

The removal of swollen lymph node through surgery is the best treatment of lymph node cancer. The effective way to remove the cancer cells left after surgery is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is carried out in 3-4 week cycle so as to keep the body healthy and keep the count of white blood cells high. Chemotherapy in lymph node cancer is done by CHOP and Fludarabine. Radiation therapy is applied locally so as to kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy is also found very effective in some types of lymph node cancer.