At Orange County CyberKnife, we provide hope in the fight against cancer by bringing some of the most advanced cancer treatments in the world to one state-of-the-art cancer treatment center. As a leading provider of radiation therapy in the Orange County area, we can treat almost any form of cancer, and we strive to provide support through every part of the treatment process. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with lymphoma, you probably have a lot of questions – so here are answers to some of the most common ones.
The lymph system, or lymphatic system, is a component of the immune system. Made up of a series of thin tubes and clusters of lymph nodes, it carries a fluid called lymph throughout the body and into the bloodstream. Lymph is filled with white blood cells, which are one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens. Lymph nodes are about the size of a pea, filled with white blood cells, and scattered throughout the body in groups. In addition to lymph nodes and tubes, the spleen, bone marrow, thymus, and tonsils all play a role in the lymphatic system.
Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that plays a prominent role in the lymph system. Lymphoma is split into two main groups: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). HL is identified by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, a type of giant cancer cell, while NHL does not produce these cells.
A fine needle aspiration (FNA) is a type of biopsy, which is a test that involves taking a small sample of tissue and analyzing it in a lab. Biopsies are a common test for cancer. An FNA involves using a long, thing, hollow needle to collect a sample of cells to examine under a microscope.
Both excisional and incisional biopsies are tests that involve taking a tissue sample for analysis, but they use more tissue and an FNA. In an excisional biopsy, a surgeon removes an entire lymph node, while in an incisional biopsy, the surgeon removes only a portion of the node or tumor. While these tests are more invasive than FNAs, they also almost always provide enough tissue to definitively diagnose lymphoma.
Symptoms can vary greatly from patient to patient, and not all lymphomas produce symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include:
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Treatment options vary greatly from patient to patient, and only you and your doctor can decide on the ideal treatment for your specific case. The treatment options available to you will depend on the type of lymphoma you have as well as the stage of your lymphoma. Treatment options for lymphoma generally include:
Getting a second opinion is almost always a good idea. Even if you feel comfortable with your current diagnosis and treatment decision, a second opinion is a form of due diligence that ensures you’re getting the best possible treatment. Many insurance policies cover second opinions, and some even require them. You should always feel comfortable asking for a second opinion, as it’s within your rights as a patient. If you’re unsure how to get a second opinion, there are a number of resources and options available to you. These include:
If you or someone you love have been diagnosed with lymphoma, we know you’re probably feeling overwhelmed – and that’s ok. A cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult challenges life can throw at you. But no matter what you’re facing, there’s hope. Contact OC CyberKnife today to learn more about your treatment options and schedule an appointment. We’ll work hard to create a treatment plan that works with your lifestyle and help you reclaim the healthy, normal life you deserve.