What is Burkitt Lymphoma?Burkitt Lymphoma is a rare type of cancer which occurs in the lymphatic system. It occurs when the body forms irregular B-cells. The B-cells are a type of white blood cell that fights disease and infections. Burkitt Lymphoma can occur in children and adults, but has more severe symptoms at higher ages. Burkitt Lymphoma may cause an unexplained lump which often becomes swollen and causes pain. Since B-cells are located throughout the body, the location of these lumps can vary. Common spots for Burkitt Lymphoma to form include the stomach, neck and groin. If you notice a lump forming, it is always best to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection can reduce the spread and severity of this type of cancer.
Causes and Risk Factors for Burkitt LymphomaA risk factor is something that increases the likelihood of a disease forming. Burkitt Lymphoma has several risk factors. It should be noted that people without these risk factors may still contract Burkitt Lymphoma and people with these risk factors are not guaranteed to contract Burkitt Lymphoma. Common risk factors of Burkitt Lymphoma include:
- Autoimmune disease – Sufferers of autoimmune diseases such as HIV or more prone to contracting Burkitt Lymphoma. This is due to a weakened immune system.
- Exposure to immuno-suppressants – An immuno-suppressant is a drug used to weaken the immune system. Immuno-suppressants are often used after an organ transplant or to treat autoimmune diseases.
Symptoms of Burkitt Lymphoma:There are several common symptoms associated with Burkitt Lymphoma. If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend that you see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will be able to determine if the symptoms are cancer early, allowing for more effective treatment. Common symptoms of Burkitt Lymphoma include:
- A lump on the abdomen – Lumps or masses around the abdominal area are a common sign of Burkitt Lymphoma.
- Abdominal pain – The lumps that form on the abdomen can swell, causing pain which becomes worse over time.
- Lumps on armpits, neck or groin – You may notice a small, painless lump on one of these places. These are caused by lymphoma cells building up in the lymph nodes, causing them to become bigger.
- Loss of appetite – You may experience a reduced appetite, which is often accompanied by weight loss.
- Fever and night sweats – Sufferers of Burkitt Lymphoma will sometimes experience high temperatures and excessive sweating.
Diagnosis & Treatment for Burkitt Lymphoma:Burkitt Lymphoma is usually diagnosed via a biopsy. This is when a part of an enlarged lymph node is removed and sent to a laboratory for further examination. Depending on the location, a biopsy may be performed under local or general anaesthetic. As well as a biopsy, you may have other tests such as:
- Blood tests
- Scans and X-rays
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of hair
- Increased risk of infection
- Fatigue and tiredess
- Irritation of the skin
- Tiredness and fatigue