Lymph Cancer - Medical Negligence Lawyers
According to the World Health Organisation the highest incidence of medical negligence in the developed world occurs in Australia. If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a Lymph Cancer medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.
Our Lymph Cancer medical negligence lawyers have solicitors offices situated in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system of which there are two main types being Hodgkin lymphoma (formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (formerly known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma). Both variants by and large share the same symptoms which may include drenching and/or frequent sweats, high temperatures, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness, a cough or breathlessness and a persistent itch all over the body. One of the first symptoms of lymphoma is a painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpit and groin. There are occasions when these symptoms mimic other conditions and misdiagnosis of the early stages of lymphoma is not uncommon. Doctors should avoid the potential of medical negligence claims by carefully eliminating lymphoma rather than simply attributing the symptoms to another less serious illness.
Initial diagnosis is where things are most likely to go wrong with a misdiagnosis. Anyone suffering from obvious symptoms should be sent for x-ray examination and blood tests. A definitive diagnosis will be made by removal of an enlarged lymph node under anesthetic for detailed examination under a microscope. In addition the specialist may also take tissue samples from other parts of the body for testing.
The body needs the lymph nodes. It is a network of nodes and vessels that take up excess fluid and bodily debris so they can be stored or removed from the body. Lymph nodes are similar to the veins of the body and follow along the venous pathway. Instead of blood, the lymph vessels are able to carry clear fluid throughout the body so that fluid can flow separately from the vessels to be processed in the lymph nodes.
Lymph also carries oxygen to cells. It also carries nutrients to cells along with white blood cells that help the body take care of infection. Waste products from the cells can be taken up by the lymph system in order to be prepared to become waste for the body. All the waste goes to a large collection vehicle near the heart.
Cancer can show up in the lymph nodes in two different ways. It can start there or it can end up there from somewhere else in the body. The most common way to get lymph cancer is for it to come from elsewhere in the body. Lymph cancer originating in the body is called lymphoma. There is Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Because they reside in the lymph system, the cancer cells can easily spread from the lymph node they originated to lymph nodes all over the body and other body systems.
As mentioned, cancer of the lymph system most likely spread from other types of cancer through the lymph system and to the lymph nodes. Cancer more likely spreads to adjacent lymph nodes. These are the lymph nodes that drain the particular body system or organ. For example, there are special lymph nodes that drain the stomach. These are the lymph nodes that doctors look at when a person has stomach cancer.
In such cases, the lymph nodes that carry the cancer don’t have “lymph cancer” actually but instead have “stomach cancer metastatic to the lymph nodes”. The cancer may travel to the next set of lymph nodes in a chain to have further metastatic disease. The cancer can go anywhere in the body along the lymph highway and can affect just one or many lymph nodes. In a sense, the lymph nodes are trying to filter out bad cells and instead get entrapped by the cells.
If lymph nodes are normal, they are very small and can be difficult to find. If there is inflammation of the lymph nodes, cancer in the nodes or infection of the nodes, the nodes will enlarge and sometimes be palpable, depending on the location of the lymph nodes. Enlarged lymph nodes have to be checked by doing a biopsy to see what is causing the enlargement. Even normal-appearing lymph nodes might contain a few cancer cells and so the entire collection of lymph nodes needs to be checked under the microscope.
At the time of cancer surgery, for example stomach cancer, it is the doctor’s goal to remove all or part of the stomach and the collection or collections of lymph nodes that the cancer is most likely to metastasise to. The lymph nodes are biopsied for cancer. Doctors report where and how many glands are affected by cancer as determined by the microscopic evaluation.
When lymph nodes are affected by cancer, this increases the chance that a person will have a poor outcome from the cancer. The lymph node and lymph system is a highway for cancer cells to travel and it makes it difficult for the doctor to treat the cancer. Chemotherapy is often used to manage cancer that has spread to the lymph system but it is hard to get each and every cell destroyed by even the best chemotherapy.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here