What is Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma?
Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL) is a type of slow-growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It primarily involves the abnormal proliferation of B lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell – in the lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissues. Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma is closely related to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and is often considered the same disease process with slightly different clinical presentations.
The symptoms of Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma may be subtle initially and can include:
- Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Fever and night sweats.
- Feeling full after only eating a small amount (early satiety) due to an enlarged spleen.
Disease Aetiology (Causes)
The exact cause of Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma is unknown, but it involves genetic mutations in B lymphocytes. These mutations cause the cells to grow and survive longer than normal, leading to their accumulation in the lymph nodes and other tissues.
Diagnosing SLL involves:
- Physical Examination: To check for enlarged lymph nodes.
- Blood Tests: To assess white blood cell counts and look for markers indicative of lymphoma.
- Imaging Studies: Such as CT scans or ultrasounds, to identify enlarged lymph nodes or organs.
- Bone Marrow Biopsy: To determine the extent of lymphoma involvement in the bone marrow.
- Lymph Node Biopsy: To examine the cells and confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for SLL may include:
- Watchful Waiting: Monitoring the patient without immediate treatment, as some cases of Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma progress very slowly.
- Chemotherapy: Often used when the disease begins to progress or symptoms become bothersome.
- Immunotherapy: Drugs like rituximab are used to target and kill cancer cells.
- Targeted Therapy: Treatments that target specific aspects of cancer cells, such as ibrutinib or venetoclax.
- Radiation Therapy: For localized or symptomatic areas.
What support can we give for Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma?
Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well-known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: