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Disorders Infecting the Lymphatic System

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Submitted By mskgerald
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Hodgkin Disease is malignant but often curable disease of lymphatic tissues that causes painless enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. It is also called Hodgkin Lymphoma and it is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes (American Cancer Society, 2015). The lymphatic system is the system in the body that is responsible for fighting off infections and keeping you healthy. It's made up of your tonsils, spleen, bone marrow, and chains of lymph nodes (Nemours, 2015). Although many types of cancer can spread to the lymph system, lymphoma actually begins in the cells of the lymph system itself (Nemours, 2015). No one really knows what causes Hodgkin lymphoma, but there is a slightly increased risk among family members of people who have the disease (Nemours, 2015). Because lymphoid tissue is in many parts of the body, Hodgkin disease can start almost anywhere (American Cancer Society, 2015). Most often it starts in lymph nodes in the upper part of the body but he most common sites are in the chest, in the neck, or under the arms (American Cancer Society, 2015).
Hodgkin disease most often spreads through the lymph vessels in a stepwise fashion from lymph node to lymph node, and late in the disease, it can invade the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body, including the liver, lungs, and/or bone marrow (American Cancer Society, 2015). The two main types of Hodgkin Disease are Classic Hodgkin disease and Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease, but all types are malignant (cancerous) because as they grow they can invade and destroy normal tissue and spread to other tissues (American Cancer Society, 2015).
Some people who have Hodgkin lymphoma at first might think they have the flu. They may have fevers, feel achy, or have swollen glands, which look and feel like bumps, often in the neck or groin area (Nemours, 2015). Others feel tired or find themselves sweating a lot during the night or losing weight without trying (Nemours, 2015). Enlarged lymph nodes in the chest can cause a cough, pain in the chest, or difficulty breathing (Nemours, 2015). The treatment plan will depend on the stage of Hodgkin lymphoma a person has. The two general types of treatment used for Hodgkin lymphoma are chemotherapy and radiation therapy (American Cancer Society, 2015).
Chemotherapy uses strong medicines to fight the lymphoma. These medicines are extremely effective in killing off the cancer cells, but they do have side effects, including nausea, vomiting, hair loss, tiredness, and lowering of the blood counts (Nemours, 2015). Chemotherapy will also make a person more at risk for infection, so at times people getting chemo need to be careful to avoid being around anyone who is sick (Nemours, 2015). Other medicines used with chemotherapy work very well to prevent some of the most unpleasant side effects, like nausea and vomiting.
Radiation involves using especially strong X-rays to kill cancer cells. The radiation is administered through a machine and targeted just at cancer cells (Nemours, 2015). Radiation therapy is usually given in addition to chemo. Radiation can also cause side effects such as exhaustion and stomach problems, but it is not painful (Nemours, 2015).
Feeling very tired is a very common problem during and after cancer treatment. This is not a normal type of tiredness but a bone-weary exhaustion that often doesn’t get better with rest (American Cancer Society, 2015). For some people, fatigue lasts a long time after treatment and can keep them from staying active. Exercise can in fact help reduce fatigue and the sense of depression that sometimes comes with feeling so tired (American Cancer Society, 2015). If you were very ill or weren’t able to do much during treatment, it’s normal that your fitness, staying power, and muscle strength declined (American Cancer Society, 2015). If you are very tired, though, you will need to balance activity with rest.

References
American Cancer Society. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/hodgkindisease/detailedguide/hodgkin-disease-what-is-hodgkin-disease
Nemours. (2015). Retrieved from Kids Health: http://kidshealth.org/kid/cancer_center/cancer_basics/hodgkins.html…...

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