What is B-Cell Lymphoma?

The B-Cell is part of the lymph system as a type of lymphocyte responsible for fighting infections and produce memory cells along with T-Cells to remember the type of microorganism that has invaded the system. This memorization is essential for faster immune system response the next time the same type of microorganism enters the body.

B-Cell lymphoma is a type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma where the malignancy is found in the B-Cell type of lymphocytes. This sub-classification of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is also sub-classified into Follicular lymphoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, and Large Cell Lymphoma. The cause of this disease is still unknown, but some environmental and internal factors are associated with this condition. These risk factors are:

– Immunocompromised conditions – these can be either through taking immunosuppressant drugs after a transplant surgery, a genetic condition, or HIV or AIDS. Patients undergoing radiation therapy are also at risk in developing B-Cell lymphoma due to risk of developing cellular mutations.

– Diseases in which the body’s own immune system is attacking itself such as rheumatoid arthritis.

– Exposure to chemical agents such as pesticides, insecticides, solvents and other organic chemicals.

Signs and symptoms of B-Cell lymphoma are the standard manifestations for lymphoma which are:

– Swollen, rubbery, non-painful lymph nodes more than 1cm in size.

– Distended abdomen due to swollen spleen or liver (splenomegaly and hepatomegaly respectively)

– Nausea and/or vomiting

– Fatigue

– High fever

– Night sweats

– Chest pain

– Dyspnea (difficulty of breathing)

To diagnose B-Cell lymphoma, your doctor will first study your medical history and conduct a physical examination. Most people suffering from this disease have swollen lymph nodes that have been there for more than 2 weeks due to accumulation of malignant B-cells. Your spleen and liver will be palpated and percussed. This is to see if the malignancy has reached these organs for they are also part of the lymphatic system. A cell biopsy is the most definitive way of diagnosing B-cell lymphoma. Afterwards, if diagnosis is confirmed, staging has to be performed through series of medical tests to know how far and how severe the malignancy has metastasized and affected the body.

Survival rate depends on early detection of B-cell lymphoma. If you suspect that you have lymphoma, it is advised that you have an appointment with your doctor so you would know what treatment is applicable and suitable for you.