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Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, is cancer of the lymphoid tissue, which includes the lymph nodes, spleen and other organs of the immune system.

It is the 4th most diagnosed cancer in men and the 5th most diagnosed cancer in women in SA.

It estimated that 1 in 176 men and 1 in 265 women in SA will develop Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) according to the NCR 2019.

Risk Factors

  • more common in older people
  • more common in men
  • family history
  • autoimmune disorders
  • overexposure to industrial and agricultural chemicals
  • patients with diseases or conditions affecting their immune system (HIV+, AIDS and organ transplant recipients)

Symptoms

May include:

  • night sweats
  • itching
  • swollen lymph nodes in neck, underarms, groin or other areas
  • if cancer affects the brain headaches, concentration problems, personality changes or seizures may occur
  • fever and chills
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain or swelling, which may lead to loss of appetite, constipation, nausea and vomiting
  • coughing or shortness of breath if the cancer affects the thymus gland or lymph nodes in the chest

Screening

Screening involves a doctor performing a physical exam and checking body areas with lymph nodes to feel if they are swollen. A biopsy of suspect tissue (usually a lymph node biopsy) will be done. A bone marrow biopsy may also be done.

Treatment

This will depend on the type of cancer, its location and how advanced it is. Options include radiation, chemotherapy, drugs or a combination.

Diagnosis & Support

If you suspect that you have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, you need to contact your medical practitioner in order that the proper screening tests be performed.

If you have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, please contact your local CANSA Care Centre so that our staff can offer you and your loved ones care & support, including medical equipment hire, wigs, counselling, support groups, online support groups and resources, as well as CANSA Care Homes where patients receiving treatment far from home can stay during treatment.

Staff can also help guide you through the public health care system.

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