Diagnosing Follicular Lymphoma
What is Follicular Lymphoma?
Follicular Lymphoma is an incurable blood cancer that affects the lymph glands (also called nodes). It is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is referred to as indolent since it is slow-developing.
The lymphatic system is an integral part of the immune system. The lymph system consists of lymph nodes, spleen and lymphocytes, which are a special type of white blood cells that circulate throughout the blood and lymphatic system. The lymphatic system plays a vital role in helping the body to fight off infections. They do this by trapping and eliminating viruses, bacteria and other harmful substances so they do not infect other parts of your body. Lymphocytes can be classified as B, T or NK cell types based on different functions and markers. B lymphocytes, or B cells, are made by the bone marrow and their main function is to differentiate into plasma cells that make antibodies (immunoglobulins)
specifically to seek out and fight infection.
Lymphoma develops when your body makes abnormal lymphocytes that don’t work properly. The most common lymphomas, including Follicular Lymphoma, come from B cells, so are call B cell lymphoma. These cells multiply, accumulating in the lymph glands, also called lymph nodes, resulting in painless swelling, in one but usually more of the lymph glands. Lymph glands can be found all over the body, but most instances of Follicular Lymphoma tend to appear in the neck, armpit or groin.
Being diagnosed with FL
If your doctor thinks that you might be affected by a blood cancer, you’ll be given tests to help diagnose what type it is. Having these tests doesn’t necessarily mean that you do have cancer – many of the tests can also rule in or rule out other health conditions.
Being diagnosed with any sort of cancer can be a frightening time.. It can be extremely helpful to find out as much information as you can. That’s one of the reasons we’ve created the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation (FLF). Our website contains all of the answers that you might need at every stage of your condition. We’ll also help to connect you with others on their own Follicular Lymphoma journeys, so that you can get support and reassurance from the only other people who can truly understand your experiences.
By arming you with all of the information that you need to understand your condition, explaining medical terms in easy to understand language and introducing you to the FLF community, we hope that you will feel reassured and better prepared for the steps ahead.