- Institute of Oncological Specialties
- Lymph Nodes and Cancer
Lymph Nodes and Cancer
What is the lymph system ?
Lymph vessels and Lymph nodes form the immune system. Falling out of the capillary walls, soothing the body’s tissues, carrying the waste products and fighting any infections are its functions. While the veins carry blood to the entire body, the lymph vessels carry watery fluids called lymph. The lymph vessels finally send the fluid up to the chest where the lymph gets collected and enters in to the blood vessel close to the heart.
What do Lymph nodes do ?
There are many lymph nodes in the body. These lymph nodes are small structures known to filter harmful or toxic substances in the body. The immune cells present in the body fights infections that are carried by the lymph fluids. Some are buried deep down in lungs and in the bowel for instance. The lymph nodes collect the fluids and wastes as it traverses through the body.
The lymph nodes in the fingers travel to the chest and join the fluid in the arm. The fluids from the head scalp and face travel down to the neck. This way they travel throughout the body playing their role of filtering the fluids. They all finally join the chest. The filtered fluids, salts and proteins are poured back into the blood stream.
What causes swelling in the lymph nodes ?
Swelling is a symptom which indicates that your lymph nodes are affected. Lymphadenopathy is a phenomenon where in a lymph node or a group of lymph nodes swell due to an infection, injury or cancer while they are trying their best to fight the infection.
Common places where lymph nodes prone to swell are underarms, neck and groin area, ears. Infections, diseases related to immune malfunctions, side effects of any medicines, cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia can lead to swelling.
How can Cancer occur in Lymph nodes ?
Cancer that originates in the lymph nodes causes Lymphoma. More often the cancer can spread from another area as well. These are the only two possibilities of the cancer that are known to occur in the lymph nodes.
How does Cancer spread to Lymph nodes ?
The cancer cells sometimes detach themselves from the original site and start travelling through the body. Most the times they are killed or the cells die during their journey. While some play havoc by attaching itself to a nearby blood vessel or a lymph node pushing itself in and in through the vessel or the node wall to slowly find its territory into a new organ or a lymph node and start growing effectively. This cancer which grows from another place primarily and spreads into another organ is called Metastasis. Cancer cells can travel as far as possible and make a home in a distant organ disrupting its function when the cancer cells are found in the lymph node it is understood that they were fighting the cancer cells all this while to filter them out explains the top oncology surgeon in Hyderabad. Cancers that originate in the primary site that is in the lymph nodes themselves are identified as a cancer called lymphoma.
How is Cancer in Lymph Nodes diagnosed ?
Best cancer surgery specialist in Hyderabad explains the different tests that he may conduct on the patient to understand the cancer. Here are few ways he would adopt to analyze, understand or to start a treatment. They include:
- Lymph nodes are basically tiny and when they have an infection they swell making the nodes visible specially the ones that are lying below the skin. This helps the treatment even easier for your physician
- In certain other cases there are no such visible symptoms and he may have to remove a part of the lymph node or the entire lymph node.
- When the surgeon is removing the tumor in the primary site there are chances that he may remove the nearby lymph node as it may have undergone metastasis.
- Biopsy is removal of any single lymph node. Lymph node sampling is removal of more than one lymph node. Also termed as lymph node dissection.
- If your surgeon has opted to remove them through surgery then there are all chances that the cancer can recur. Hence you may be further advised to undergo chemotherapy or radiation.
- Samples are also collected from more than one enlarged nodes using needles. This is called needle biopsy. This is further analyzed by a pathologist who will look for presence of any cancerous growth.
- The type of cancer cells that has spread from any other part is easy to identify as the cells that are growing in a different area will look identical like that of where the cancer had prevailed n the primary site. This helps in preparing a clear cut report and starting a right treatment.
- If the nodes are buried deep then to see if they are enlarged or not the patient may have to go through imaging scans.
- Any enlarged lymph node is mostly presumed to be as cancer.
What does the presence of cancer in your lymph node indicate ?
When the cancer cells are in few numbers the surgeon may have to conduct a few more tests that determine your condition. The treatment will not still have any change. If there’s a large mass that that is evidently seen in the tests and in any case if it is growing out of the lymph node is identified as the extracapsular extension. ‘Extracapsular’ because it is extending through the layer of the connective tissue which is called the capsule. If you find too many cancerous cells in the nodes then it is an indication that the cancer cells are growing rapidly and there are chances that they may spread to other parts of the body as well. If these cancer cells in the lymph nodes are closer to the primary site then the removal of the primary sit’s tumor and that of its nearby nodes through surgery can avoid it from spreading into other areas. And those that are away from the cancer site will require additional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Best cancer treatment hospitals in Hyderabad, India insist and explain that the one who is treating you should have a strict vigilance on the state of your cancer periodically as it can get life threatening and trying to repair it any further will be fatal. Acting immediately is the only way to stop its growth from creating further issues.
How is the Stage of the Cancer in the Nodes analyzed ?
Let’s see how the stage of the cancer in the nodes is determined. They include:
- The cancer mainly depends on the stage and the type of cancer
- They determine it through one of the most common staging systems which is TNM
- T stands for Tumor; N stands for Nodes and M stands for Metastasis.
- If the nearby nodes are not affected then the value stands at zero
- If two of the nearby nodes are affected then the N value is 2 and so on. This number is based on the number of nodes affected, how large they are and where they are and to what extent the cancer cells have grown
- The TNM values with smaller numbers are treated easily. The chances of survival are f they have crossed the normal level.
- An example to make you understand how the stage would be determined through TNM
would be : A cancer patient identified with T1, N0, and M0 would indicate that there is a tumor with no lymph nodes being affected and also that there is no metastases found.
What are the side effects of removing the lymph nodes?
Lymph nodes cancer surgery doctors in Hyderabad say that when the lymph nodes are removed their usual routine of functioning and their final stand of draining out of the fluids will not take place causing a fluid back up. This condition is called as lymphedema. This problem can get chronic. The problem is likely to increase and prevail for the rest of the life when too many lymph nodes are removed.
Why KIMS ?
K.I.M.S is the best place for Lymph nodes cancer treatment in Hyderabad as they have the best oncologists and pathologists. The entire medical team works together in analyzing the stage, extent and the condition of the patient. The latest techniques and advances in treating cancers are yet another addition for the treatment of cancers at KIMS. The medical team are updated to the changing advances in the treatment of cancers which has helped them in serving their patients better and to best ability possible to relieve them from the life threatening disease that it is.