In order for a doctor to diagnose a patient with the malt lymphoma cancer he or she will first need to take a test. The results of this test will mean whether the patient has the malt lymphoma cancer or not, and also how far along it has gone.
The test for Malt Lymphoma
To diagnose a MALT lymphoma, the doctor will need to take a biopsy from the tumor. For MALT lymphomas of the stomach this usually involves an endoscopy. Doctors will also test for the presence of the H pylori in the stomach. Other tests that will need to be performed include blood tests, scans of the abdomen and chest, and also a bone marrow test.
Stages of the Malt Lymphoma cancer
The disease is present in only one group of lymph nodes, or, more rarely, in a single organ that does not belong to the lymph system.
Cancer is found in two or more groups of lymph nodes on the same side as the diaphragm. (The diaphragm is a thin muscle below the lungs that helps in breathing and separates your chest from the abdomen). In addition, an organ not in the lymph system may be involved close to the involved nodes.
The disease is present in lymph node groups on both sides of the diaphragm, occasionally with the involvement of other adjacent organs. If the spleen is involved then the disease becomes stage III as well.
Once the liver, the bone marrow or the lung substance becomes involved, the disease is in stage IV. The same is true if other organs are involved far away from involved nodes.
There many different types of treatments that a patient can go with when they are diagnosed with the malt lymphoma cancer. It can be very hard or tough to decide upon the best treatment for the patient and therefore there are many considerations that a doctor or the patient have to take into account before deciding upon the best form of treatment. Below I will talk about a few different types of treatments and what they are to give you a better understanding of the best treatments for malt lymphoma.
MALT lymphoma of the stomach
If tests show that H. pylori is present in the tumour tissue, you’ll be given a course of antibiotic and antacid treatment called triple therapy. This treatment often gets rid of all signs of the lymphoma (known as remission), but it may take several months or more for the full benefit to be seen. You’ll be followed up closely after this with regular endoscopies and biopsies, usually for the next two years.
Sometimes a monoclonal antibody drug called rituximab (Mabthera®) is used. This may be given with chemotherapy or on its own. Occasionally an operation to remove the stomach may be done.
Non-gastric MALT lymphoma
MALT lymphomas that start in other areas are treated in a similar way with chemotherapy, rituximab and radiotherapy. Surgery may be used to remove the lymphoma, depending on where it is and how widespread it is.
If the lymphoma is growing very slowly and not causing any problems, you may not need any treatment for some time. Your doctor will monitor you closely so that if the lymphoma does start to grow, your treatment will be started.
Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy for MALT lymphoma can usually be given as a tablet. Chlorambuciltablets are a commonly used type of chemotherapy. Other drugs that may also be used include cyclophosphamide, fludaribine and cladribine.
Monoclonal antibody therapy
Monoclonal antibodies are drugs that recognise, target and stick to specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells, and can stimulate the body’s immune system to destroy these cells. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that is given as a drip into a vein. It can be given with chemotherapy or sometimes on its own to treat MALT lymphoma.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. Radiotherapy is an effective treatment for MALT lymphoma of the stomach that hasn’t spread to lymph nodes. It can also be used to treat early MALT lymphoma in some other parts of the body.
Occasionally, early MALT lymphomas that haven’t spread may be removed with surgery. For MALT lymphomas of the stomach, radiotherapy or chemotherapy are often used to avoid having the stomach removed with surgery.
Steroids are drugs that are often given with chemotherapy to help treat lymphomas. They also help you feel better and can reduce feelings of sickness (nausea).
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It can be a really tough and unexpected time when you find out that you are diagnosed with malt lymphoma. Many people may feel that there is nothing else to live for, that they are going to die one day whether they like it or not. Well the reality is that you don’t really need to be diagnosed with malt lymphoma to die one day, so a positive attitude is what you should keep in mind. Never give up and understand that you should live your life the way you want to.
Dealing with malt lymphoma is not only challenging for the person going through the pain and struggle of it. However, it can be a tough time for the family of the patient also. The family who love and care for someone will always feel some sort of pain when they relies that the day they thought they will never see that person again is coming much sooner that they would have ever imagined.
Who to go to for help?
You might think that being diagnosed with the malt lymphoma cancer is the end of the world. But its not! There are many charities and organisations that have been helping many people of the years who have the same or similar cancer to malt lymphoma or any other type of lymphoma disease.
Leukaemia CARE is a national group promoting the welfare of people with leukaemia and related blood disorders, including NHL. It has regional support groups in many counties.
The Lymphoma Association
The Lymphoma Association gives emotional support, advice and information on all aspects of NHL. It has a national network of people with lymphoma and local groups.
MALT Lymphoma is a cancer. It affects the B-Cell Lymphocytes of the body. The health issue is common amongst elders. It affects patients who are above 60 years of age. Unlike many other tumor cells, MALT Lymphoma starts in the lymphatic tissues. It targets the mucosa associated lymphoid tissues. This gives the disease its name MALT Lymphoma. Mucosa is a tissue, which acts as a lining of many body organs. It is found in the lungs, stomach, thyroid gland, bowel and salivary gland. MALT Lymphoma is also recognized as extranodal lymphoma because it grows around lymph nodes.
Causes behind MALT Lymphoma
The cancerous cells are caused due to a number of reasons. MALT Lymphoma starts with long term inflammation. Infected areas will be made worse through bacterial attacks. MALT is also caused due to an anti-immune condition. A person is said to be anti-immune if their immune system works against their body. An anti-immune body will have an immune system that attacks and destroys its own tissues. Anti-immune causes MALT in the thyroid and salivary glands. Another common reason behind cancerous cells would be a type of bacteria called H. Pylori. This will inflame the stomach walls and result in MALT Lymphoma. Nevertheless, the disease is not infectious and it does not spread with touch or word!
Symptoms of Cancer
MALT Lymphoma has very few signs and symptoms. Visible symptoms will depend on the location in which the disease has started. If it has affected the stomach, patients will have serious signs. They will lose their appetite and feel extremely tired or fatigue. They will also experience massive weight loss and frequent indigestion.
Diagnosing MALT Lymphoma
Diagnosing the health condition is quite intricate. Patients with digestive signs and symptoms will be advised to undergo endoscopy. Doctors will take a small sample of stomach cells and send it for investigation. This is known as a biopsy. The examination will tell if the person has MALT Lymphoma or not. Additionally, the tests will also reveal a person’s actual health image. It will help doctors to find the patient’s chance of recovery and how far the disease has spread.
Cure for MALT Lymphoma
Doctors will stage and grade their patients. This will help them determine an appropriate treatment and medication. The stage of cancer gives a brief overview of the parts affected by cancer. MALT lymphoma which affects the stomach will extend in layers. Before deciding on a suitable treatment, doctors will measure several layers of cancerous cells. Lymphoma is graded under two different groups. Patients will be grouped as indolent or aggressive. MALT in its indolent grade can be recovered with simple treatments. Nevertheless, it will change into an aggressive one if it is not treated properly. MALT Lymphoma is a treatable disease. It has four different cures:
- Chemotherapy – this is given to patients in the form of a tablet.
- Radiotherapy – high energy rays are used to destroy the cancerous cells. This is an effective cure, if Lymphoma is in its indolent stage.
- Antibody therapy – This involves special proteins and monoclonal antibodies.
- Surgery – Indolent and Lymphoma that hasn’t spread across several organs can be removed by surgery.
If you have pain in your stomach then you need to act fast as there are possibilities that it could be malt lymphoma. Many people may have never heard the term malt lymphoma and hence, they eat some painkillers to get rid of the pain that they have been facing. If you have to talk about this disease in layman’s language then it can be said that it is a tumor in the stomach.
Facts about malt lymphoma
If you are doing a research on malt lymphoma then you need to understand the problems that are associated with it so that you can act fast and also help people who aren’t aware about the problem. Few of the facts about malt lymphoma that will amaze you are as follows: -
- Malt lymphoma is a form cancer. A tumor is formed in the stomach and this tumor can be removed completely from the stomach as few cancer cells will be left in the body under any condition.
- Malt lymphoma is caused by cells that are different in shape than that of the regular cells. These cells are immature as they haven’t grown properly. Scientists state that the cells are converted to cancerous cells because of the lack of development process.
- If you think that you are very young in age and hence, you won’t get malt lymphoma, at least at this point of time in life then you are wrong. Research states that most of the people who are suffering from this problem are below the age of 50.
- Talking honestly, it can be said that if malt lymphoma is ignored for a certain time then it is merely impossible for the patient to survive. The cells spread in the body at a faster rate and hence, the doctors will be left with no option but to leave hope.
Treatments for malt lymphoma
As mentioned above, malt lymphoma cannot be treated as per your convenience and hence, you need to act fast. Few of the treatments that can help you to get rid of malt lymphoma are as follows: -
- Chemotherapy is one of the treatments that are used for treating malt lymphoma which is used at its initial stage. The patient is given an injection so that the growth of the tumor is stopped or reduced.
- Surgery is one of the safest ways by which you can treat malt lymphoma. With the help of surgery, the tumor is completely removed from the body. This treatment cannot be used if the size of the tumor has increased or if the cancerous cells have spread to other part of the body as well.
- Radiotherapy methodology is also used to treat malt lymphoma. The radiation is given bare minimum at the initial stage but later, the radiation is increased. With the help of radiation, the growth of the tumor is stopped.
Malt lymphoma can be controlled if it is at its initial stage and hence, you should be alert so that you can safeguard yourself from the torturous treatments.
- Test for malt lymphoma and the stages
- Different treatments for Malt Lymhpoma
- How does malt lymphoma affect people?
- All about MALT Lymphoma
- You cannot bear the pain of Malt lymphoma