Mantle cell lymphoma. An indolent or an aggressive disease?
Mantle cell lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma type of cancer and it represents affection of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, as part of the immune system, helps fighting against infections or foreign particles. The lymph drains through lymph vessels, a network of tubular channels, into the bloodstream and accumulates in lymphocytes. The lymphocytes or the white blood cells are divided in two groups: the B cells or the B lymphocytes and the T cells or lymphocytes, and can be located not only in the lymph nodes, but in the lymphoid tissue too.
B lymphocytes search the organism for infections or foreign bodies. When something wrong is found B cells transform into plasma cells and secrete antibodies to neutralize the infection. This is the moment when T cells get to do their job. Once neutralized by the B cells the infection or foreign body is destroyed by the T lymphocytes.
While moving through the lymphatic system, the lymph is filtered by the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are located in various regions in our body such as neck, armpit, chest and groin and even abdomen, and have the mission to destroy antigens.
From the two categories of lymphoma that we know, mantle cell lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin’s disease, being a result of weakness from the immunity system. By dividing, slowly or rapidly, the malignant cells form a numerous population that enlarges the lymph nodes. Mantle cell lymphomas symptoms are different from a case to another, and are strictly related to the stage of disease, sex and age of the patient.
MCL is a B cell lymphoma that develops in the zone of the lymph nodes and it is a form of non-Hodgkin’s disease caused by the malignant B lymphocytes.
Mantle cell lymphoma is considered as being a two stage disease. In cases when lymphomas divide slowly the diagnosis is low grade disease, but in cases when the malignant cells divide rapidly the diagnosis is set as high grade lymphoma, in urgent need of proper treatment. Because of this classification of the mantle cell lymphoma, specialists have doubts about where to situate this lymphoma, along with indolent or aggressive diseases.
Mantle cell lymphoma affects especially men that are over 50. Fewer than 33% of the patients are women.
MCL symptoms are pretty much alike to the other lymphomas symptoms. The immune system is getting weaker and from this time towards, problems occur. In early stage the enlargement of lymph nodes is one of the most common symptoms just like anemia and in final stages neurological problems appear.
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