Lymphoma is an uncommon type of cancer, but it can affect many parts of the body. These cancers begin in the infection-fighting cells of your immune system, which are known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are found in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, and bone marrow. Lymphoma causes lymphocytes to change and grow out of control. Lymphoma is very treatable, however. Discuss your treatment options today with our functional medicine physician.
Types of Lymphoma
There are three main types of lymphoma:
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: B-Cell types
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: T-Cell types
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the more common form of lymphoma. When lymphocytes are affected by cancer, they continue to multiply uncontrollably and produce malignant cells that can invade other tissues throughout the body.
The Causes of Lymphoma
It can be difficult to determine the true cause of lymphoma, but there have been a number of factors that have been identified as potential causes and risk factors for lymphoma cancer.
These factors include:
- Viral infections: The Epstein-Barr virus, which also causes infectious mononucleosis, may be a cause of lymphoma. The genome of this virus is present in 20% to 80% of Hodgkin lymphoma tumors. HIV, hepatitis, HTLV-1, SV-40, and HHV-8 viruses also are common prior infections in lymphoma patients.
- Genetic factors: Identical twins and same-sex siblings have a high risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma if one sibling develops it first. Parents with Hodgkin lymphoma may also cause susceptibility in their children. Inherited immune deficiencies may play a significant role in your chances of developing lymphoma.
- Environmental factors: Early exposure to bacterial and viral infections at a young age may be preventative of Hodgkin lymphoma. This type of cancer occurs more frequently in those with fewer siblings, who have an early birth order, who lived in single-family homes, and who saw fewer playmates.
- Immune disorders: Lymphoma attacks the immune system, so it isn’t uncommon for patients to also have an immune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or Sjögren's syndrome, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel diseases.
- Bacterial infections: Helicobacter pylori, Borrelia burgdorferi, Campylobacter jejuni, Chlamydia psittaci are common infections for those who are diagnosed with lymphoma. Some of these bacterial infections are associated with Lyme disease and gastrointestinal ulcers.
How We Can Help
There are many factors that can increase your risk of lymphoma. Our functional medicine treatment at Synergy Lifestyle Medicine focuses on whole-body healing, including mitigating the effects of illnesses and genetic susceptibility.