There are people who feel an enlargement or a swelling of a ball like material behind the ears or under the jaw line during periods when one has colds, cough and other infections – these enlargements are called lymph nodes, the major organ of the lymphatic system, which plays a role in the immunity of the body and in the fluid balance of the blood vessels.
At the same time, these lymph nodes are also prone to development of cancer or malignancies. The main cause of lymph nodes cancer or lymphoma has not been found yet but there are risk factors associated with its development such as a compromised immune system, contact to viruses such as EBV and HIV; and exposure to pesticides, herbicides, dyes or solvents.
Epidemiology and statistics of morbidity has shown that cancer in lymph nodes has an incidence of one identified case among fifty two men and also one case in sixty one women based on the data from the United States. The health care agencies and the government are worried about the sudden increase of lymph node carcinoma to more than seventy percent compared to the number of cases identified in 1973. With this, campaigns for cancer screening and widespread health education among the people are one of the priority interventions being done since early detection and prompt treatment is the key to an increased chance of recovery in all kinds of cancer or disease conditions.
Lymph nodes cancer is categorized between Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since the type of medical management depends on these major classification of the illness. Both of these lymphomas manifest similar symptoms such as weight loss without apparent reason, sweating at night, easy fatigability and febrile episodes. These are non specific to any kind of condition but only shows that the immune system is acting towards something that threatens the health status of the individual, in this case cancer cells.
Hodgkin’s disease is a more rare form of cancer of the lymph nodes characterized by Reed Sternberg cells, which large and unique lymph node cells. This type of malignancy is more localized and has a better prognosis.
On the other hand, all other types of lymphatic cancer are called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and this is the most common type that is managed in health care facilities. This condition is characterized by enlarged lymph nodes that are movable, asymmetric figure upon palpating it and may be tender. These suggest that this kind of lymphoma has a poorer prognosis and can metastasize or spread easily.
The current knowledge on treating the cancer of the lymph nodes has been more advanced and has allowed people suffering from this condition a chance to have a longer life. Previously hypothesized or experimented treatments have been proven effective and are being used now. However, it must be emphasized that better health outcomes result from detection of the illness at its early phases, having prompt and immediate management of the disease, complying with the therapeutic regimen suggested by the health care providers and a strong support from family and significant people.
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