Lymphoma Breast Cancer

Lymphoma is a collective term for cancers that affect the lymphocyte cells of vertebrae animals such as humans, cats, and dogs. Lymphocytes are a vital part of the immune system and can be further divided into T-cells, B-cells and Natural Killer-cells, all of which can be affected by various type of lymphoma cancer. Lymphoma was first defined by Thomas Hodgkin's, and historically the various forms thereof have been classified as Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's, while more recent systems of classification group the types of cancers by the cell type (T, B, NK) which they affect.

Lymphoma and Breast Cancer

Lymphoma does not under normal circumstances affect the breast, though some variations such as MALT lymphoma can, however there has been a link between radiation therapy and the later development of breast cancer. While the most common treatment for the majority of lymphoma cancer types is chemotherapy, some patients do receive radiation therapy as a supplemental or alternative treatment. Thus there may in some cases be an increased risk of developing breast cancer, general at a later stage of life, as a result of the treatment of lymphoma.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer can be subdivided into:

  • Ductal Carcinomas – these originate from the inner lining surrounding the milk ducts of females; and
  • Lobular Carcinomas – these originate from the lobules, which supply the above mentioned ducts with milk.

The most common sign of either type of breast cancer is the development of a lump in the breast; indeed, as many as 80% of breast cancer cases are discovered thanks to the patient having noticed a lump in her breast.  Should you feel an unusual lump, which has a different feel to the rest of your breast tissue, you are advised to seek medical attention; should the doctor agree that the lump may be cancer, you will be offered a mammogram. A mammogram is scan of the breast which shows any unusual growth clearly.

Causes of Breast Cancer

Unlike lymphoma, where there has generally been very little success in determining any root causes, breast cancer has been widely associated with a range of risk factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Above average hormone levels;
  • Not breastfeeding;
  • Iodine deficiency; and
  • Smoking – this may be surprising, but smoking has been linked to increased risk for many forms of cancer, and is not, as many believe, limited to lung cancer.

Breast Cancer Treatment

While most types of lymphoma are treated through chemotherapy, the majority of breast cancer cases are treated through surgery. This type of surgery is known as either Mastectomy (where the breast is removed in full), Quadranectomy (where roughly one quarter of the breast tissue is removed), or Lumpectomy (where only a small part of the breast tissue is removed), depending on the size of the procedure. Cosmetic surgery, and the insertion of breast implants, can be used to restore the breast in size and look following the surgery should the patient wish.  This, of course, is optional.

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