Stages of B-cell lymphoma and treatment options

Lymphoma is among those cancers that affect the lymphatic system. B-cell lymphoma is also referred to as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It occurs because of the development of abnormal white blood cells called lymphocytes. The abnormal lymphocytes do not die to be replaced by new ones. Instead, they continue to grow and multiply inside the lymph nodes, leading to its swelling.

The B-cell lymphoma survival rate is calculated with the help of diagnosis and treatment based on its stage of progression.

Diagnosing B-cell lymphoma
One of the most common symptoms related to B-cell lymphoma is the swollen lymph nodes, which is also called lymphadenopathy. The swollen lymph nodes are not painful but might feel uncomfortable beneath the skin, especially, in the neck and the armpit region. The individual might also experience unexplained weight loss and lack of appetite.

On observing these symptoms, the doctor examines if the person is suffering from B-cell lymphoma. This is done through a series of tests like a biopsy and a bone marrow examination. Immunohistochemical stains and flow cytometry of the biopsied material might also be conducted. Apart from this, paracentesis and thoracentesis with pleural effusion can also help in diagnosing and thus calculating B-cell lymphoma survival rate.

Stage and treatment of B-cell lymphoma
Based on the extent of spread, the stage and the treatment of B-cell lymphoma are decided to understand the survival rate. It is important to consult an oncologist about the stage of cancer and thus its treatment.

  • Stage I and II–┬áCancer in these stages is found only in one or more lymph nodes on the same side of the diaphragm. These stages indicate that cancer has invaded the extra lymphatic sites but not the lymph node regions. B-cell lymphoma has a better survival rate in these stages than later stages because of its localized spread. Stage I and II lymphoma can be treated using two to three sittings of radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The main aim of the treatment is to shrink the tumor and stop it from growing further. The number of sittings depends on the extent of spread and the patient’s response toward the therapy.
  • Stage III and IV– Both these stages are said to be the advanced stages of any form of cancer because of its reocurrence. These stages experience spread of cancer across all the lymph nodes. Once the malignant cells have infected the lymph nodes, they can easily spread to the other parts of the body. Lymphoma often spread to the bone marrow, liver, and lungs. The survival rate at these stages is less when compared with stage I and II.

The advanced stage of cancer requires multiple and combined approaches of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions. This is because of the probability of reoccurrences. Apart from this, stage III and IV B-cell lymphoma is also treated using immunotherapy, where certain medicines are injected that help in improving the immune system, thus, helping the body fight the malignant cells.