Tuesday, November 21, 2017 8:20

Cancers of the Lympthatic System

Posted by on Friday, September 4, 2009, 15:53
This news item was posted in Cancer category and has 0 Comments so far.

The lymphatic system comprises the body wide system of lymphatic draining into innumerable lymph nodes, and the richest source of lymphocytes of all, the spleen. This whole system is actively engaged in protection against cancer, and in passing it might be of interest to note that metastases hardly ever occur in the spleen in spite of its generous blood supply.

Some constituent cells of the lymphoid system, however, may themselves become malignant. Such lymphoid malignancies may be of all grades of aggressiveness, ranging from the almost benign follicular lymphoma at one end of the scale, through lymphosarcoma and hodking’d disease, to the reticulum cell sarcoma at the other.

Because of the extensive ramifications of the lymphatic forming cells even under normal circumstances, such form of malignancy, with the exception of the most benign, tend to spread widely and rapidly throughout the body, and occasionally to spill over into the bloodstream, where they are identified as either acute or chronic lymphatic leukemia.

Benign follicular lymphoma presents itself as a painless enlargement of one lymph gland or a closely related group of lymph nodes, and microscopic examination shows that the cell pattern and lymph node architecture are still reasonably well preserved. It can be by simply existing the enlarged glands.

Until a comparatively short time ago, all other varieties of these lymphoid cancers were uniformly fatal in a matter of months or years, depending upon the grade of malignancy. Today, thanks to the combine use of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, a very significant proportion of patients with these disease can be cured.

In many patients the cause of lymphatic cancers is unknown. There is a suggestion that an infectious agent may be at work, because cases tend to occur in clusters in precise geographical locations down to certain street in certain towns, and because similar types of cancer can be produced in experimental animals by viruses.

There is also a greatly increased incidence of such disorders in people exposed to excessive high energy radiation, such as professional radiologists and dentists, the offspring of mothers having abdominal x-rays during pregnancy, atom bomb survivors, workers in the nuclear industry, and also patients taking immuno suppressive drugs following organ translation.

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