Essential Things to Know About Blood Cancers and Available Treatments

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Lymphoma is a type of cancer that involves the lymphatic system, which is part of the human body’s immune system. The system includes various lymph glands or lymph nodes, bone marrow, thymus gland, and spleen. The germ-fighting cells are called lymphocytes. When a person contracts lymphoma, the lymphocytes change and grow awry, and can affect the parts of the immune system, as well as other organs of the body. Lymphoma has several types, but the main sub types are non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Signs of lymphoma

Some signs of lymphoma could include the following:

  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the groin, armpits, and neck

While you may exhibit any or all of these signs and symptoms, it might not be lymphoma but another illness. Schedule a visit with your doctor to know your condition.

Lymphoma, which is different from leukemia, is treatable. The outlook varies according to the stage and type of lymphoma you have.

Different types of treatment

There are several treatments that are recommended for lymphoma. It includes chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy medications. Your doctor may even recommend using a combination of these treatments.

But there is a new treatment that is being explored. It’s called CAR T-cell therapy and you can learn more about it by visiting https://belong.life/what-is-car-t-cell-therapy/. The treatment is a type of immunotherapy using T cells that are specially altered to fight cancer.

What are T cells?

T cells or T lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell (leukocyte) that is a vital part of the immune systems of humans. The body has two main types of lymphocytes, T cells and B cells. These cells determine the selectivity of the immune response to foreign substances or antigens in the body.

The T cells come from the bone marrow and mature in a person’s thymus, an irregularly-shaped gland located at the top part of the chest, between the lungs, and just under the breastbone. The thymus is part of the endocrine and lymphatic systems. Its primary function is to produce T cells.

Understanding CAR T-cell therapy

When a person undergoes CAR T-cell therapy, a sample of the T cells of the patient is collected. The lab modifies the cells to produce specific structures called CARs or chimeric antigen receptors. The modified cells are reintroduced into the patient and the new receptors allow them to fasten onto a specific antigen on the tumor cells inside the patient and destroy them.

While CAR T-cell therapy is FDA-approved as the standard of care for specific forms of aggressive, relapsed, or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma, most of the patients who are approved to receive the therapy are younger, from children to patients up to 25 years of age. Adults may be considered to undergo CAR T-cells therapy when they have aggressive large B-cell lymphoma who did not get better with another treatment or have a recurrence of the disease after treatment.

Patients receiving the therapy typically stay in the hospital for one or one and a half weeks after receiving the treatment. The patient’s length of stay varies depending on the response to the treatment and the side effects the patient may develop.

Be sure to consult with your doctor when you exhibit the symptoms of lymphoma.

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