What is lymphoma?
Under 30?! You need to know this...
Lymphoma is a blood cancer and the most common cancer in teenagers and young people! Around 1 in 5 young people diagnosed with cancer have lymphoma and every year in the UK, around 500 young people aged 15 to 24 develop lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a cancer that forms tumours in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is an important part of your immune system aka your defence system, which is made up of lymphatic vessels and some of our organs. The lymphatic system carries a fluid called ‘lymph’ around the body in lymph vessels. This fluid passes through lymph nodes (glands), which are spread throughout your body.
Lymph nodes are small, kidney bean-shaped organs that are the filters of the lymphatic system. They clean the lymph fluid and lymphocytes, removing bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. The nodes are also responsible for the manufacturing and storage of infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. Lymph nodes can be felt in the armpits, the groin and the neck. There are many more that can’t be felt, such as nodes in the stomach, pelvis and chest.
Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes become out of control. They divide in an abnormal way or do not die when they should. The affected lymphocytes collect and collect in your glands, forming lumps. Do not panic if you feel a lymph node, as when working to fight an infection, the nodes become larger because they need more power to do their job. But if it has not gone away in a week contact your GP!
What symptoms of Lymphoma you have depends on where the lymphoma starts and what parts of your body it affects.
Like any cancer, lymphoma can affect the function of the tissue involved. For example, if it affects your lungs, you might have a cough or shortness of breath and if lymphoma is growing in your abdomen you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation.
There are many different types of lymphoma which can behave differently and need different treatment.