Lymphoma is a cancer of white blood cells, called lymphocytes. Like other cancers, lymphoma occurs when abnormal cells divide faster and live longer than normal cells. This blood cancer may first start in a lymph node or other lymph-related tissue such the spleen. It can spread to other lymph nodes, the blood or bone marrow, or to your organs.
There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma (Hodgkin disease) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as several subtypes. About 75 percent of people with Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common, but has no known cure. However, people with this disease can live many years, sometimes without treatment.
No matter the type, you can find expert lymphoma treatment in Stockton and the surrounding areas at St. Joseph's Cancer Institute. Our dedicated team ranges from doctors to surgeons to specially trained nurse navigators who will oversee every aspect of your cancer care.
Recognizing Lymphoma Symptoms
When you have lymphoma, the large amount of abnormal blood cells crowd out normal, infection-fighting cells, leading to increased infections. They also push out red blood cells, triggering anemia. The signs and symptoms of lymphoma can mimic symptoms of other common illnesses such as a cold or the flu.
Some people experience no symptoms, and the cancer is detected when tests are done for some other health concern.
Symptoms of lymphoma often include:
- Swelling in the lymph nodes in any part of the body
- Rash or itching
- Fever or chills
- Unintended weight loss
- Sluggishness (lethargy)
Causes of Lymphoma
Health experts do not yet know the cause of lymphoma, although researchers have identified several risk factors, including:
- Age (risk increases with age)
- Certain viral infections, including mononucleosis
- Diet high in red meat and saturated fat
- Exposure to some pesticides or other chemicals
- Male gender
- Weakened immune system
Trusted Lymphoma Treatment at Dignity Health
Your recommended treatment options will depend on the type of lymphoma you have, whether it has spread, and your general health. Hodgkin lymphoma is highly curable with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Stem cell transplant to replace unhealthy cells with healthy blood cells may be necessary in some cases.
Some forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma grow slowly, so your doctor may not recommend treatment until your symptoms progress. For more aggressive forms, treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, and stem cell transplant.
You will need regular visits with a Dignity Health oncologist who specializes in blood cancers to discuss your need for blood tests or imaging tests. These tests can help your care team see if there is a need for other treatments.
From diagnosis to treatment, rely on our cancer experts to walk you through your treatment options and offer our expertise.
St. Joseph's Cancer Institute is dedicated to caring for patients with lymphoma throughout Northern California.