T-cell lymphoma (or T-lymphoblastic lymphoma) occurs when lymphocytes change which affects division and proliferation of these cells. This process leads to the formation of increasing numbers of abnormal cells.
The process of lymphoma formation can start in any of the lymph nodes as well as in spleen, intestine, thymus and bone marrow. Moreover, after the start of the process lymphoma cells migrate to all parts of the lymphatic system, thereby providing the spread of tumors. When the process goes to the lymph nodes they are due to increased multiplication of cancer cells.
It is also important to note the growth of the lymph nodes, which in most cases do not occur because of the disease, as is the normal response of the immune system, which aims to produce a larger number of lymphocytes to fight infection.
Lymphoma is a common form of cancer in children. About a fifth of all childhood cancers is lymphoma. There are several types of lymphomas in children. Common type – Hodgkin’s lymphoma, B-cell lymphoma and T-cell lymphoma. Every year in Israel diagnosed about fifty new cases of lymphoma in children.
There is still no scientific explanation as to why the child develops cancer. The disease is not inherited in most cases. The disease does not occur due to environmental factors are known (ie – no proven connection between exposure and the development of lymphoma because of the use of mobile phones, power lines, food or anything else). There are scientific theories that connect the various viruses and lymphoma, but on this occasion there is no clear information.
Symptoms of lymphoma may include swollen lymph nodes (the most common sites of neck and chest – the thymus gland), enlargement of the spleen and liver, fever, fatigue, weakness, weight loss and sweating at night.
Diagnosis of lymphoma
Diagnosis includes blood tests, as well as microscopic study (analysis of tissue samples taken from suspicious enlarged nodes). Selection is carried skilled tissue as the biopsy procedure (sometimes operating method under CT) followed by a microscopic examination is performed and accurate determination process and the type of tumor.
PET – CT – positron emission computed tomography can detect cancer cells in enlarged lymph nodes or organs, and thus determine the stage of the disease.
Bone marrow (performed under anesthesia) – Samples taken from the bone marrow, usually in the pelvis.
Like all cancers, lymphoma associated with cell proliferation and division. Therefore, treatment is based on methods that cause the death of dividing cells. The basic tool is the use of chemotherapy. In rare cases, a surgery to remove the tumor, may also be used radiotherapy.
Complete cure of cancer requires complete removal of all existing in the patient’s cancer cells. If the result of the treatment will be even a small amount of lymphoma cells, the disease will develop and propagate in the body For this reason, the treatment takes a long time. Treatment normally includes a combination of drugs that “beating” cancer cells in several ways. This method reduces the risk of resistance of cancer cells to treatment. Chemotherapy may be given in the form of tablets, syrups or injections directly into the blood stream through a vein.
Furthermore, in some cases there is need to inject drugs into cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), which allows preparations freely penetrate directly into the cerebrospinal fluid. This procedure is performed about 11 times during the treatment of lymphoma.
Radiotherapy is a process in which the treatment is directed at the tumor beam of high energy. For the treatment of T-lymphomas in children this therapy is usually not used.
Duration of treatment
Treatment of T-cell lymphoma usually lasts for two years. The first part of the treatment lasts for seven months, it is more intense and it includes frequent visits to the hospital, some in the hospital, some outpatients. The second part of the treatment is less intensive, outpatient visits most once a week or two.
In some circumstances lymphoma may be recommended a bone marrow transplant.
Most children with lymphoma may be achieved by complete recovery in chemotherapy or in combination with raditerapy without requiring bone marrow transplantation.
Results of treatment
Modern methods of treatment allow to cure the majority of children with T-cell lymphoma. As the disease can flare up during treatment and after its completion, it is impossible to determine with certainty, whether the child is fully recovered. Five five years after diagnosis must again be tested.