What is Follicular Lymphoma?

There are a lot of classifications for lymphoma depending on the morphological characteristics found during biopsy. The major classifications are Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but they are still subdivided according to their grade. Follicular lymphoma is a subcategory of B-Cell lymphoma that is classified under Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Follicular lymphoma is an indolent type of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This means that this type of lymphoma spreads and affects the body in a slower rate compared to other types of B-cell lymphoma. This classification is quite crucial. The slower a malignancy affects the body, the harder it is to detect. The disease got its name for it manifests itself as malignant follicles in affected body parts under morphological studies.

Follicular lymphoma rarely manifests itself in the early stages like other forms of B-Cell lymphoma. By the time the signs and symptoms warrant a visit to the physician, the follicular lymphoma is already at stage III or IV already. The signs and symptoms are:

- Swollen, rubbery, non-tender lymph nodes greater that 2cm in size. The lymph nodes can be located at the neck, by the clavicle bone,

- Distended abdomen due to enlarged liver and spleen

- Night sweats

- Unexplained fever

- Unexplained weight loss

- Difficulty in breathing

It is still unknown what causes this condition. However, the following risk factors have been attributed to the formation of the said condition:

- Compromise of the immune system - patients undergoing radiation therapy for cancer, or prolonged intake of immune-suppressant drugs after transplant surgery has been attributed to formation of follicular lymphoma.

- Viral infections - HIV/AIDS, Epstein-Barr virus have been linked to follicular lymphoma.

Cure for the disease is divided into curative and palliative. However, the curative mode of treatment is applied only during the early stages of the disease and very few patients manifest Stage I and Stage II symptoms. Palliative treatment is done when the malignancy has spread through the entire body and cannot be corrected.

There are no known definite treatments that can totally cure follicular lymphoma. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are often utilized to help prevent further spread of the malignancy. Sometimes, bone marrow transplant is utilized when the disease is in relapse to help the body recover and produce non-malignant cells. Even during the course of treatment, you must maintain regular check up with your physician to monitor your progress to see if the treatment is effective or needs changing.

Need to learn more about Lymphoma? Be sure to check out Lymphoma Symptoms which contains in-depth information on Follicular Lymphoma symptoms, causes, treatment and much more.

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