January 28, 2023

Lymphomas and other blood cancers: what they are and how to recognize them

What struck Giancarlo Magalli is lymphoma, a malignant tumor of the lymphatic system that can also affect the spleen. Lymphomas are tumors caused by the uncontrolled proliferation of a particular type of white blood cell: the lymphocyte. The lymphocyte is a cell – essential for our immune system – that helps keep us safe from infectious agents. There are different types, some aggressive that require intensive chemotherapy treatments and others that you can live with instead. The number of blood cancer diagnoses is set to increase due to the general aging of the population – he explains Fabrizio Bread, Professor of Hematology and director of the Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Operative Unit at the Federico II University Hospital of Naples -. Fortunately, however, life expectancies are higher today and the 35-40% of patients can aspire to recovery. In addition, rapid advances in medicine have made many of what were once considered life-threatening diseases chronic. (CONTINUED UNDER THE PHOTO)

Exist dozens of different subtypes of hematological malignancies belonging to three large macro-groups: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, which can occur in an acute (more severe and aggressive) or chronic form. In general, these forms of cancer affect the bone marrow which produces the main blood cells, i.e. white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets – explains Pane -. two are, as far as treatments are concerned, the points that emerge from the most recent data: first, we are moving towards the progressive abandonment of chemotherapy, replaced by “molecularly targeted” therapies less toxic and more comfortable (often in tablets); second, i get to know each other better and better several subtypes of tumors and, gradually, it is possible to develop effective treatments even for those more aggressive forms, which tend to recur or are refractory to current treatments.

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