Like other types of cancer, lymphoma is a life-changing disorder. Not only does it come with the risks and symptoms of other cancers, but it also directly affects your immunity, making you susceptible to other diseases.
Because this disease can be so debilitating, it’s understandable that you want to know all your treatment options. After all, the existing methods we have can put your body through extreme levels of stress. Finding a way to take the edge off your symptoms and side effects could be a total game-changer.
Medical marijuana could make the fight against lymphoma easier for you. Let’s talk about cannabis and lymphoma.
What is Lymphoma?
Many cancer types have very straightforward names — for instance, breast cancer occurs in the breasts and lung cancer occurs in the lungs. But if you don’t have it yourself, the name “lymphoma” might confuse you. We’ll break it down for you.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymph system, a part of your immune system. The lymph system releases white blood cells called lymphocytes that produce antibodies. When you have cancer, your body fails to kill off extra cells, which start to spread and damage the body.
You can find lymph tissue in many areas of the body. These include the lymph nodes, bone marrow and the spleen. Lymphoma can affect any of these areas, like the lymph tissue near your brain or in your skin.
Hodgkin Lymphoma vs. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
There are two categories of lymphoma based on whether your cancer tissue contains Reed-Steinberg cells. Reed-Steinberg cells are mutated white blood cells that are up to five times larger than healthy lymphocytes.
Hodgkin lymphoma usually begins in the underarms, neck or chests. It then progresses to the closest set of lymph nodes, making it easy to diagnose in earlier stages. However, Hodgkin lymphoma appears less often than non-Hodgkin lymphoma does.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is much harder to diagnose early on, and doctors have a more difficult time predicting where it will spread next. Because of this, patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma tend to get a diagnosis in more advanced stages of the disease. Depending on the subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma the patient has, it can have a lower or equal survival rate to Hodgkin lymphoma.
The symptoms you experience depend on where the lymphoma manifests, rather than the type of lymphoma you have. Since lymphoma often causes the lymph nodes to swell, the resulting pressure on the surrounding organs can cause issues.