• I have NHL. When others speak of their various types of cancer they many times say at least there is no lymph involvement.

    Asked by marshala1 on Friday, November 9, 2012

    I have NHL. When others speak of their various types of cancer they many times say at least there is no lymph involvement.

    Does that mean lymphoma is worse because the lymph system is where it originates? Just curious about that since my prognosis doesn't seem any worse than other types of cancer.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      No, usually references to lymph involvement refers to metastasis through the lymphatic system (lymph nodes) to other areas of the body. The primary concern is metastasis through the lymph system rather than the original primary cancer site.

      almost 8 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I had testicular cancer. All of my cancer was in the lymph nodes with ZERO in the testis. With a lot of cancers, it's better to have it confined to it's place of origin rather than seeing it spread throughout the body via the lymphatic system.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      As the others said, those are a different type of cancer than what you have. If you have a solid tumor type cancer (such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, etc.) and a surgeon goes in and cuts it out, then they will also take the nearest lymph nodes and do a biopsy on them. If cancer hasn't spread to those lymph nodes then there's a good chance it hasn't spread anywhere else.

      This isn't an issue with NHL. Lymphomas can be treated--some can be cured. But, at least with mine, it's in the blood and it has already spread. This isn't better or worse than the solid tumors. It's just different.

      almost 8 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy (Best Answer!)

      Lymphoma is a blood-borne cancer, does not form solid tumors, and is very treatable because the malignant cells are in the bloodstream, directly in the path of the chemo. For other cancers, the chemo must travel through a complex series of veins and capillaries to reach the tumor, so considerably less chemo may actually reach the tumor. As well, some "solid tumor" cancers build a membrane which makes the passage of chemo more difficult. Pancreatic, in particular, is known for this. The tumors in lymphoma are not solid tumors, which are like living organisms that have their own blood supply. Rather, lymphoma tumors are (more or less) cancer cells that clump together. Lymphoma and leukemia are quite different animals from other cancers, and the stage at your diagnosis is not nearly as important as with other cancers. Actually, most lymphomas are discovered at late stage, usually 3 or 4. At my diagnosis, I was in stage 4 with "innumerable" tumors. I had a rare, unknown sub-type of a T-Cell lymphoma that has no standard treatment. Doctor has to essentially guess at what will work, and there are basically two chances to stop it before time runs out. After being bombarded with eight different dose-intensive chemo drugs over four months, the cancer came right back. A clinical trial then appeared. Through a series of what can only be described as miracles, I have had no evidence of disease for over 3 1/2 years. Amazing, since I was not expected to finish 2008.

      Prognosis? Mine went from poor to very poor after I relapsed immediately after chemo. But, that was in February, 2009. You are creating your own prognosis by keeping your chin up, fighting, and loving each day of life.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Schlegel's Avatar

      No. First, I wish this site would not lump all NHLs together.
      If you have a fast growing type of lymphoma, that is curable. If you have a slow growing type, that is treatable but not curable. I have follicular lymphoma for 7 years and worked as a physical therapist for the first three years, stopped because of a neuropathy but that has cleared with acupuncture. I have had very minimal problems. One of the good things about a slow growing lymphoma is that if you have a recurrence, you can hold off on treatment a few months. I expect to be around five or ten more years.

      almost 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Hello, I am an oncology/end of life nurse so let me clarify it a bit for you. The lymph system is really a two part system, the primary system is a pressurized system and that is your circulatory system. The secondary system is not under pressure and that is the lymph nodes. Lymphoma is the cancer of either B or T cells, or natural killer cells that originate in the primary lymph system. So you have a type of malignancy that resides in the cells who's job is to seek out and destroy foriegn invaders. B cells born in the bones, actively seek out anything flagged as suspicious and then make antibodies to destroy it. T cells are a bit lazier, they meet up with foreign invaders by being introduced to them by antigen presenting cells, or other cells of the immune system, they are more cell mediated. The lymph system is kind of like the plumbing in your house, and the lymph nodes are like the drains. They take the used lymph fluid which is just exta vascular fluid that leaks thru the veins into open spaces in the body. they bring it to the thoracic duct that purifies it and then returns it to the circulatory system like the city water system that purifies the water and pumps it back to your house. The primary lymph which is like your faucet under pressure pumping water back thru the pipes. When a patient has a cancer that involves the lymph nodes, that is cancer cells that have taken a ride on a lazy river to a spot somewhere else, a metastasis. Because your heart pumps with such force, cancer cells have a hard time using blood to move around, the ride is fast and hard to get off of. If it got to the heart, it would encounter highly oxygenated blood which would suffocate them. There are two types of lymphomas, Hodgkins and any other type. Hodgkins is rarer than non Hodgkins. NHL incorporates many kinds, it can be B or T cell, Burkitts, diffuse large cell, etc. So in closing you are correct, it really is not that different except that your type is in the primary system and can visit both primary and secondary sites, and theirs is usually only in the secondary. I hope I have not confused you more. Best of luck to you, Carm.

      almost 8 years ago

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