This past week actress Jane Fonda announced via social media that she has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “So, my dear friends, I have something personal I want to share. I’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and have started chemo treatments. This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky.” She is also a survivor of both breast and skin cancer. Dr. Scot Ackerman joined WJXT live on Sunday morning to discuss her diagnosis and symptoms, screening methods, and treatments for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer begins in your lymphatic system, part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system. It is the fifth most common type of cancer in the US, with more than 100 types. The condition occurs when the body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. This cancer typically affects people over the age of 60.
Signs and Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma May Include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
- Persistent fatigue
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
When to see a doctor: Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.
Screenings and Tests for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:
- Imaging tests: Your doctor may recommend imaging tests to look for signs of lymphoma cells elsewhere in your body. Tests may include CT, MRI and positron emission tomography (PET).
- Lymph node test: Your doctor may recommend a lymph node biopsy procedure to remove all or part of a lymph node for laboratory testing. Analyzing lymph node tissue in a lab may reveal whether you have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, if so, which type.
- Bone marrow test: A bone marrow biopsy and aspiration procedure involves inserting a needle into your hipbone to remove a sample of bone marrow. The sample is analyzed to look for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cells.
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): If there’s a concern that the lymphoma may affect the fluid around your spinal cord, your doctor might recommend a procedure to remove some of the fluid for testing. During a spinal tap, the doctor inserts a small needle into the spinal canal in your lower back.
Treatments: Common treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem-cell transplant, or medications.
To view Dr. Ackerman’s full interview segment on WJXT, click here