Lymphoma is a group of cancers that affect the lymphatic system, an integral part of the body’s immune system. In this article, we will delve into what lymphoma is, its main types, risk factors, common symptoms, screening and diagnosis methods, and the various treatment options available.

What Is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, and bone marrow. The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in the body’s immune system, helping to fight off infections and diseases. When cells within the lymphatic system undergo abnormal changes, they can develop into cancerous lymphoma cells, disrupting the body’s ability to ward off illnesses effectively.


What Are The Types Of Lymphoma?

There are two primary types of lymphoma: Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These can be further divided into various subtypes, each with its distinct characteristics and behaviors.

Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL)

It is characterised by the presence of a particular type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. It typically affects young adults and has a relatively high cure rate due to advances in treatment. 

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

A more diverse group of lymphomas that do not contain Reed-Sternberg cells. There are numerous subtypes, each with unique features. NHL can affect individuals of all ages and accounts for about 90% of lymphomas.

Lymphoma In Singapore - Statistics

In Singapore, lymphoma is the fourth most occurring cancer among men, accounting for 7.3% of all cancers diagnosed in men and the fifth most occurring cancer among women, accounting for 5.2% of all cancers diagnosed in women from 2017 to 2021.

Who Are At Risk Of Lymphoma?

Lymphoma can affect people of all ages, some factors may increase the risk of developing this cancer:

  • Age – The risk of lymphoma generally increases with age, with Hodgkin lymphoma most commonly affecting young adults and non-Hodgkin lymphoma being more prevalent in older individuals.
  • Gender – Men are more likely to develop lymphoma compared to women.
  • Immune System Dysfunction – A weakened immune system, whether due to certain medical conditions or medications that suppress the immune system, can increase the risk of lymphoma.
  • Infections – Certain infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Helicobacter pylori, have been linked to an increased risk of lymphoma.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lymphoma?

The symptoms of lymphoma may vary depending on the type and stage of the disease. Common symptoms include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Unexplained weight loss over a short period of time.
  • Fever and night sweats.
  • Fatigue.
  • Unexplained itching of skin.
  • Breathing problems.

Are There Screening Tests For Lymphoma?

To date, there are no routine screening tests for lymphoma. Early-stage lymphomas often do not cause any noticeable symptoms. Individuals with risk factors or experiencing symptoms of lymphoma should consult a medical professional. Various tests, including blood tests, imaging scans, and biopsies to confirm the diagnosis.

Diagnosis Of Lymphoma

Diagnosing lymphoma involves several common tests and procedures to confirm the presence of the disease, determine its type, and assess its stage. Here are some of the most common tests used in the diagnosis of lymphoma:

  • Blood Tests such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) to measure the number and types of blood cells in your bloodstream and Blood Chemistry Panel to assess the function of organs such as the liver and kidneys. 
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan – A CT scan provides detailed cross-sectional images of the body, including the lymph nodes and internal organs. 
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan –  PET scans are used to detect areas of increased metabolic activity, which can help distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous tissue. A combination of CT and PET scans (PET-CT) is often used for lymphoma staging.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – MRI scans use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of soft tissues and can be used to evaluate lymphoma involvement in certain areas of the body.
  • Biopsy – Biopsy is a crucial step in confirming lymphoma diagnosis and determining its type.

Treatment Options For Lymphoma

The treatment of lymphoma varies depending on the type, stage, and overall health of the patient. Common treatment options include:

  • Chemotherapy– This treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop their growth.
  • Radiation Therapy – High-energy X-rays or other radiation sources target and destroy cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy– These drugs stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Stem Cell Transplant – In some cases, a stem cell transplant may be considered to replace damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells.

Consult A Doctor For Lymphoma Diagnosis Or Treatment

Health365 has partnerships with trusted healthcare providers in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Contact us for an introduction to a doctor for myeloma diagnosis or treatment.

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