Fantastic filters -- Lymph nodes are small, kidney bean-shaped organs that are the filters of the lymphatic system. They clean the lymph fluid and lymphocytes, removing bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. The nodes are also responsible for the manufacturing and storage of infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes.
White fight -- A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell, which helps fight viruses or bacteria that cause infection.
Count ‘em up -- There are approximately 600 nodes from head to toe! They can be found anywhere in the body and are strategically located where bacteria are most commonly found.
Hide and seek -- Lymph nodes can be felt in the armpits, the groin and the neck. There are many more that can’t be felt, such as nodes in the stomach, pelvis and chest.
High Five -- Lymph nodes are symmetrical. During a regular physical examination, a physician will feel and compare five pairs of matching lymph nodes to make sure they are healthy.
Up sizing -- When working to fight an infection, the nodes become larger because they need more power to do their job. Lymph nodes may become tender when the body is fighting infection (such as “mono” or strep throat).
Know the name -- Lymph nodes are sometimes incorrectly called “glands” or “lymph glands,” but they do not secrete anything and are therefore not glands.
Tree of Life -- The lymphatic system looks like a tree, with many outstretched branches called lymphatic vessels that act like channels carrying a colourless liquid called lymph. The lymphatic system looks a lot like the circulation system which carries blood through the body.
Defense system -- The lymphatic system is a network of tissue, ducts and organs that is an important part of the immune system, playing a major role in the body’s defense against infection and cancer.
Open wide -- Tonsils, perhaps the best known part of the lymphatic system, are lymphatic organs. They work with the immune system to help prevent infections.
All about Lymphoma
Lymphoma is the most commonly occurring blood cancer and the third most common childhood cancer. Although the disease is becoming increasingly more common, many people are still unaware of lymphoma and that it is a life-threatening form of cancer.
There are more than 35 types of lymphoma. The two most common types are Hodgkin’s lymphoma, discovered by Thomas Hodgkin in 1832, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which breaks out into 30 different types. The different types of lymphoma affect different types of lymphocytes.
The signs and symptoms of lymphoma can often be mistaken for other less serious illnesses, like the flu. By knowing more about your nodes, the symptoms can be detected early and there is a better chance for quicker diagnosis, treatment and overall survival. For more information, click here.
Approximately 7,680 Canadians will be diagnosed with lymphoma this year, placing it in the top 5 most common cancers in Canada, affecting children, men and women in alarming numbers.
One million people around the world are living with lymphoma today. In fact, lymphoma has one of the fastest rising incidence rates of any cancer and the exact cause of it is unknown.