Lymphoma Lung Cancer

It is a fairly common misconception that lymphoma can directly affect the lungs, but in fact lymphoma and lung cancer are quite separate diseases. However, the lymphatic system can be responsible for the transportation of tumours developed in other organs to the lungs. Examples of cancers that can spread to the lungs through the lymphatic system include:

  • Prostate
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Kidney
  • Bladder
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Wilm’s tumour

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a collective name for what is in fact over 70 types of cancer that can affect the lymph nodes. These have historically been divided into Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, due to Thomas Hodgkin being the first scientist to identify and describe lymphoma, however more recent classifications use more detailed groupings. Indeed, the most recent system of classification (developed by the World Health Organisation in 2008) divides lymphomas further into Hodgkin’s, Natural Kill- B- and T-cell lymphoma.

Symptoms of Lymphoma

Lymphoma can be difficult to detect without medical testing and diagnosis, but there are a few common signs. One of these is the swelling of lymphatic nodes, commonly in the neck, armpit or groin. Further, though less specific, signs may include nightly sweating, itchy skin, sudden weight loss, and high temperatures.

What is Lung Cancer?

With more than 38,000 people diagnosed every year, Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the UK – as is now common knowledge, smoking is the leading cause behind the development of lung cancer. However, as mentioned above, lung cancer can also be caused by the spread of cancer developed in other parts of the body. This is known as metastatic lung cancer, and the cancer will spread between organs either through the blood or lymphatic system.

Two Types of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can be divided into two groups: non-small or small cell lung cancer, and each of these requires a different treatment. For non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of treatment is removal surgery, and it can also be treated using both chemo- and radiotherapy. Small cell lung cancer cannot be treated with surgery, and thus requires the use of chemo- or radiotherapy alone.

Signs of Lung Cancer

The most common sign of lung cancer is a continuing and deep cough; these are often referred to as ‘smoker’s cough’ and sometimes shrugged off, but in many cases they are sufficient cause to seek medical advice. Further signs that often present themselves in lung cancer sufferers include:

  • Stubborn chest infections
  • Coughing up blood
  • Loss of weight (which may be due to difficulty of swallowing)
  • Lethargy
  • Wheezing or breathlessness
  • An unusually hoarse voice

If you present any or several of the above, and particularly if you are a smoker, it may be wise to seek medical advice from a trained professional.

Summary

In summary, though cancer can be spread to the lungs through the lymphatic system, Lymphoma lung cancer is not a term that can be used to describe a specific type of cancer; the diseases are, in fact, quite separate from each other.

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