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Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Diagnosis & Treatment in the South Puget Sound Area

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is known by several similar names, including Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and simply as lymphoma. This form of cancer affects the lymphatic system as mutated cells begin to develop and potentially metastasize (spread) throughout other areas of the body. While it is common for various types of cancer to spread to the lymph nodes, only those that originate in the lymphatic system can be classified as lymphomas.

Large Areas of Lymphatic Tissue

Lymph nodes exist all throughout the body in various regions to provide support to a person’s immune system. This network of nodes is able to deliver infection-fighting white blood cells known as lymphocytes to areas of the body that may be threatened by harmful bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms. Lymphocytes can vary by type, with the most common types being B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. Any type can become compromised by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, though B lymphocytes are more often affected.

There are six specific portions of the lymphatic system that make up the majority of lymphatic tissue within the body. The lymph nodes have already been discussed, and the remaining five portions include the:

  • Spleen
  • Adenoids and tonsils
  • Thymus gland
  • Bone marrow
  • Digestive tract

Common Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

As with many forms of cancer, symptoms associated with lymphomas can first seem quite vague and non-specific. If the symptoms listed below persist for a significant period of time or begin to worsen, it is critical that individuals seek immediate care from a skilled physician:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes, usually first noticed in areas of the neck, groin, or armpits
  • Fever
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Night sweats

Classifying a Patient’s Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

It can be particularly difficult to classify a patient’s particular type of lymphoma, as there are many factors that contribute to this process, such as:

  • The type of lymphocyte that the cancer originated in
  • The appearance of the mutated cells when viewed underneath a microscope
  • How quickly the lymphomas grow and spread to other areas of the body
  • Any proteins that exist on the surface of the cancerous cells
  • The chromosomal features of the patient’s lymphoma cells

Various examinations, tests, and tissue biopsies will need to be conducted in order to officially reach a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and which stage the patient is involved in. The later the staging, the more severe the case. The specific diagnostic tools used will depend on where the cancerous cells originated as well as where they may have metastasized.

After our office has gathered sufficient information about the patient’s unique lymphoma case, recommendations for the most beneficial treatment options will be given. It is important for patients to work closely with their providers during this decision making process to arrive at a solution that is truly best for them.

Treatments Offered by NW Medical Specialties

Not every patient will decide to engage in treatment for their non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This choice is often weighted by the knowledge that treating advanced lymphomas can be extremely taxing in both a physical and emotional sense.

Individuals who do elect to undergo treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma will typically complete one or more of the following cancer treatment therapies or procedures:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Surgery to remove the cancerous lymphatic tissue

Again, these options will vary based on the particular patient and their exact case of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. If you wish to review any of these potential treatments with a specialist in the South Puget Sound area, please contact NW Medical Specialties today to request a consultation. We have five locations for your convenience.

HEALTH ALERT! For the safety of our patients and staff only patients will be allowed into our clinics and everyone MUST wear a mask. See additional information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Important COVID 19  Information for patients of Northwest Medical Specialties

November 16, 2020 Update

During these difficult times we are making every effort to keep our patients and staff safe from COVID 19, we appreciate your patience and understanding with the changes you may have seen within our practice.

We strive to protect our patients and staff as much as we possibly can from any exposure on our premises.  NWMS has implemented a system wide policy that does not allow anyone in the building that is not a patient and everyone must wear an NWMS provided mask over their mouth and nose during their time on our premises.  This is to protect our vulnerable patients from the unforeseen possibility of exposure to COVID 19 which can be transmitted through aerosol droplets.  Sadly, we have had patients that have died from the complications of COVID 19, which is both devastating and preventable.

We offer a virtual visit option for family, friends, and companions to participate in the care of our patients through Zoom.  Our staff will assist you with every step of the login process and invite you to participate in real time from your vehicle or designated safe space in our building. Please contact us at 253-428-8700 to set this up.

The following offices are temporarily closed:

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please make sure to contact us via phone prior to your appointment. You may also contact us for any additional questions by calling our office at (253) 428-8700.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization

Centers for Disease Control