Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is the system that helps fight toxins in the body. The lymphatic system includes lymph nodes that store excess fluid (lymph) that is taken from the blood and is pushed around the body to excrete it. People who suffer from Lymphoma have a large abnormal number of lymphocytes that outweigh the normal lymphocytes. This causes the body’s immune system to fault and affects how the body fights infections. Lymphoma can target specific lymph glands, such as the spleen, thymus and bone marrow, as well as other organs throughout the body if not treated. Symptoms include swelling of the lymph nodes which can occur all over the body, such as the neck, groin, abdomen or armpits.
There are two types of Lymphoma that spread and are treated differently:
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (which accounts for about 90% of lymph nodes)
- Hodgkin lymphoma (which can be only seen from blood tests and in biopsies)
There are four stages of Lymphoma:
- Stage I – cancer is found in one lymph node area or one area or organ outside the lymph nodes
- Stage II – cancer is found in two or more lymph node areas or in one area or organ outside the lymph nodes on the same side of the diaphragm (the sheet of muscle slung beneath the lungs that enables breathing)
- Stage III – cancer is found in lymph node areas on both sides of the diaphragm
- Stage IV – cancer has spread outside the lymphatic system to one or more organs, such as the spleen, liver or skin
Alongside the conventional cancer treatment, some therapies of lymphatic drainage assist people on feeling better whilst maintaining the fluid retention and pressure.