Burkitts lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (the cancer of lymphatic cells) where beta cells show cancerous growth. This is also known as beta cell lymphoma. Since beta cells are the immune cells, this cancer can be fatal if left untreated. Burkitts lymphoma spreads very fast and for this reason is called the most aggressive form of non-Hodgkin type of lymphoma. This type of cancer affects male children more than it affects female children. It accounts for approximately 50 percent of all childhood cancers. Geographically, this cancer is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are three types of Burkitts lymphoma based on its epidemiology and symptoms. The first type is endemic which is restricted to African children. This type is closely related with Epstein-Barr virus. The symptoms in the endemic type are related to jawbone and face. The second type, sporadic Burkitts lymphoma, occurs all over the world. It mainly affects the intestines. The third type is known as immunodeficiency-linked Burkitts lymphoma, which is found in cases of HIV/AIDS. People taking immunosuppressant drugs are prone to this type of Burkitts lymphoma.
The most common symptoms of Burkitts lymphoma are enlarged lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, fatigue, and night sweats. Sporadic type of Burkitts lymphoma is linked to symptoms like pain in the abdomen, enlarged lymph nodes, intestinal obstruction, and ascites. The enlarged lymph nodes are not tender in this case. The endemic type of Burkitts lymphoma is linked to symptoms like swelling of the face and enlarged lymph nodes. At times, symptoms related to ovaries, kidneys, or breasts are also seen in this type. The immune-deficiency-linked type has symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, tonsillitis, fever, night sweats, and ascites. This cancer is diagnosed by doctors on the basis of history of symptoms, physical examination, and medical tests. Node or bone marrow biopsy generally confirms the diagnosis. Computed tomography and MRI also help diagnose the organs and lymph nodes involved. Based on the lymph node involvement and organs affected, this cancer is divided into four stages.
Many chemotherapy drugs are available to treat Burkitts lymphoma. Radioimmunotherapy and bone marrow transplant are also recommended for this cancer. People generally show remarkable improvement with chemotherapy drugs. The lymphoma recurring after the treatment have poor prognosis.
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