The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

October 11, 2013

Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness


Q. What is lymphoma?A. Lymphoma is a name for a group of cancers of the lymphatic system. The organs of the lymphatic system include the spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and bone marrow.

The two major groups of lymphoma are:* Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The less common of the two, Hodgkin’s lymphoma results from abnormal cell growth in the lymphatic system.* Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In non-Hodgkin’s, tumors develop from types of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Non-Hodgkin’s is much more common than Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Q. What are the symptoms of lymphoma?A. The symptoms of lymphoma can often imitate those of leukemia. For instance, fevers or abnormal lymph tissue growth in the nodes, tonsils and spleen can occur in both diseases. But other signs more exclusive to lymphoma may include:* Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, groin or neck* Swollen liver or spleen* Stomach pain and swelling* Chest pain, coughing and difficulty breathing

Again, your health care provider is your best resource to determine the underlying cause of these symptoms.

Q. How can you cope with a leukemia or lymphoma diagnosis?A. Receiving a diagnosis of leukemia, lymphoma or any other cancer will likely place significant strain on you and your loved ones. Some recommendations for getting through this tough time include:* Finding strength in friends and family. One of the best support systems is your friends and family. They are there to listen and assist you in the emotional and physical obstacles your disease presents. Cancer support groups are often a beneficial resource as well. * Exercising. As long as you feel strong enough, get daily exercise. This can help to strengthen your body, as well as alleviate daily stresses. Discuss any limitations imposed by your situation with your provider.* Eating right and resting well. A healthy diet and proper rest schedule can aid in reducing the fatigue and stress that cancer brings.* Getting involved in your care. It’s easy to withdraw and become discouraged after finding out you have cancer. Discuss what realistic hope there is for you with your provider. Always feel free to take an active role in your health care experience.

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