Lymphoma

WHAT IS LYMPHOMA?

Lymphomas are cancers that affect the body’s lymphatic system. Lymphomas occur when a type of white blood cell (lymphocytes) experience a malignant change and begin to rapidly multiply. When this occurs, the changing cells are called lymphoma cells.

When lymphoma cells accumulate they can form cancerous tumours in the lymph nodes and other body parts.

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Central Nervous System Lymphoma

Central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is a condition in which cancer cells form in the lymph tissue of the brain and/or spinal cord.

CNS lymphomas are more common in the elderly, but can occur in younger people, particularly in those whose have compromised immune systems (related to medications or diseases such as HIV). They tend to produce multiple tumours which are often seen close to the ventricles deep in the brain.

Symptoms

CNS lymphoma may cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, seizures, weakness, memory impairment, and disturbed speech.

Treatment

CMS lymphomas are treated with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. A biopsy is generally needed to confirm the diagnosis. Surgical removal does not usually have a role in treatment.

Like cerebral metastases, CMS lymphomas are not curable, however modern treatment can make a big difference to the length and quality of life.