Dealing with cancer is no laughing matter. Depending on the type of cancer that you may have, one of the first questions that may come to mind is what triggers it. While in many types of cancer that fact has yet to be determined, there are some types that we do have a better understanding of.
This is true with lymphoma. The disease can affect any person at any age but the good news is that it is treatable. In fact, due to our understanding of lymphoma and ways to treat it, it is possible to live for many years after being diagnosed. But let's face facts, we are still dealing with a formidable enemy so as the saying goes, 'knowledge is power.' We need to understand what causes lymphoma and what triggers its advance.
What Is Lymphoma?
You need to first understand cancer. In simple terms, our bodies are made of many different types of cells all performing very specific functions. Cancer develops when the cells do not follow their designed patterns. They either begin to divide in abnormal ways, or they continue to live on long after their usefulness is no longer required. In most cases of cancer, this leads to too many cells in the wrong places in your body. The result is a lump or a tumor somewhere where the out of control cells have accumulated. These tumors will eventually absorb the nutrients and energy the healthy cells in your body needs, putting your life in jeopardy.
In lymphoma, these cells divide abnormally or fail to die when their purpose has been fulfilled. The excess rogue cells collect in the lymph nodes around the body and can even spread to invade other organs.
When the lymphoma affects other parts of the body, it can alter the way those areas function. If it enters into the bone marrow, it is possible that it can interfere with the marrow's process of making new blood cells. It can also affect the breasts, stomach, the skin, the bowels, or even the liver, thus interfering with the body's normal functioning.
What Causes Lymphoma?
While we know that lymphoma is not something that can be spread from one person to the next we still need to know what causes lymphoma. Studies have shown that certain groups of people are at a higher risk than others due to very specific risk factors.
- Those who have had an organ transplant and take drugs to avoid rejection.
- Those who have HIV.
- Those who suffer from autoimmune disorders.
- Those who have had the Epstein-Barr infection, or Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
- Those who have relatives with lymphoma.
For those who fall within one of these categories, they are considered to be at a high risk of developing lymphoma. However, it is important not to assume that those who do not have these risk factors are not going to get the disease. Cancer can strike almost any person at any time so it's important to stay on top of your health and take precautionary measures whenever possible. Once you fully understand what causes lymphoma you can take whatever steps you can to avoid getting it or allowing it to advance.