Lymphoma

A cancer diagnosis is a tough thing to face, but we’re here for you from the first diagnosis and staging to treatment and even beyond.

We can do this – if we work together.

Untangling the Terms

Any cancer diagnosis can be unsettling, but a lymphoma diagnosis also carries with it the confusion surrounding all of its different terms. At INTEGRIS we’re here to help you through every single stage, and that begins with helping you understand lymphoma. Multiple myeloma is considered a type of lymphoma, but the two primary types are Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Many cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma are associated with HIV/AIDS or the Epstein-Barr virus, and have slightly better survival rates than non-Hodgkin’s varieties, but the vast majority of lymphomas – about 90% – are categorized as non-Hodgkin’s.

At INTEGRIS, we’re here for you every step of the way, from the first diagnosis and staging to treatment and even beyond – with rehabilitation designed specifically for cancer survivors.

The Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic

Lymphoma treatment used to mean dozens of appointments at different facilities with multiple specialists, but with our Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic, the process is streamlined. We gather our physicians and specialists in one room to decide the best course of treatment for you. That means the time you have to spend between diagnosis and treatment is dramatically reduced.

We know this can be a challenging time, so please ask your physician about any concerns or questions you might have.

Understanding Lymphoma

If you think you may be suffering from lymphoma, it’s best to talk with your physician. Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma both cause similar symptoms, but they could also be caused by a variety of other health problems, and only a doctor can accurately diagnose their cause. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Abnormal sweating, especially at night
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing or trouble breathing
  • Feeling full after eating only a small amount
  • Feeling very tired
  • Fever
  • Frequent viral infections such as colds, flu, sinus infections
  • Headaches
  • Itchy, red or purple lumps under the skin
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Swelling in the belly, abdomen, head or arms
  • Trouble thinking or moving parts of your body
  • Upset stomach (nausea), vomiting or stomach pain

If your doctor thinks you might have lymphoma, exams and tests will be required to reach an accurate diagnosis. This begins with your physician asking questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease, and may continue with more in-depth tests:

  • Blood and Urine Tests: Blood and urine are tested in a lab.
  • Chest X-Ray: The chest X-ray shows the heart, lungs, and other parts of the chest.
  • Lymph Node Biopsy: A sample of tissue is taken from the lymph nodes and is checked with a microscope for cancer cells. A lymph node biopsy is needed to diagnose Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • CT Scan: This may be done for the abdomen, chest, and pelvis. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays and a computer to make detailed pictures of the body.
  • MRI Scan: An MRI uses large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to make detailed pictures of the body. This test is used to check the brain and spinal cord. Or it may be used if the results of an X-ray or CT scan unclear.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: For this test, a radioactive sugar is injected into the bloodstream. Cancer cells use more sugar than normal cells, so the sugar will collect in cancer cells. A special camera is used to see where the radioactive sugar is in the body. A PET scan can sometimes spot cancer cells in different areas of the body, even when they can’t be seen by other tests. This test is often used in combination with a CT scan. This is called a PET/CT scan.
  • Bone Marrow Aspiration or Biopsy: A small amount of bone marrow fluid or solid bone marrow tissue may be taken (usually from the hip bone) and is tested to see if cancer cells have reached the bone marrow.

Several types of treatment can be used for lymphoma. Which may work best for you? It depends on a number of factors. These include the type and stage of your cancer. Other important factors include your age, overall health and what side effects you find acceptable. Your doctor can answer any questions or concerns you have.

  • Chemotherapy: Medicines that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing are injected into your vein (IV), into tissue or taken by mouth.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-energy X-rays or other types of radiation used to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be done to remove tumors.
  • High-Dose Chemotherapy With a Stem Cell Transplant: Young blood cells (stem cells) are taken. This is followed by a large amount of chemotherapy medicine, which causes damage to the bone marrow. After the chemotherapy, the stem cells are replaced.
  • Monoclonal Antibodies: A type of targeted therapy that kills cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
  • Supportive Care: Cancer treatment can cause side effects, so we offer medications and other treatments to alleviate pain, fever, infection, nausea and vomiting.
  • Clinical Trials: Ask your physician if there are any treatments being tested that may work well for you.

At INTEGRIS, we offer a wide variety of support programs and services along with the Troy and Dollie Smith Wellness Center to help patients with lymphoma and their loved ones manage the physical and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Support services for lymphoma include:

  • Cancer screenings
  • Clinical social work services
  • Counseling
  • Integrative medicine clinic
  • Mind, body therapies including acupuncture, massage, and yoga
  • Multi-disciplinary clinic coordination
  • Nutrition consultations
  • Pastoral care, spiritual support and relaxation techniques
  • Patient and family support groups
  • Patient navigation and survivor care planning
  • Research and clinical trials
  • Resource Room

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