Identical Twins and Lymphoma

Identical twins have the same genetic composition. As such, where the other twin so found to have some genetic anomaly in his or her system, the other twin could also harbor the same illness. In the case of lymphoma, especially those which are indolent or slow growing, the twins are considered as a double risk where when one is afflicted with the disease, the other is said to be 100% at risk to contract the disease in the near future.

Lymphoma Types

Lymphoma is a type of cancer which attacks the lymphocytes of the patient. There are two major classifications of lymphoma namely Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The term Hodgkins is coined after the scientist Thomas Hodgkin who discovered the first lymphoma in 1832. After the discovery of Hodgkin in 1832, lymphoma researches have discovered that there are other types of lymphoma that exhibits different characteristics and behaviors that that originally discovered by Hodgkin.

These other forms of lymphoma, which are considered different from the Hodgkin discovery are collectively referred to as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma and are now about 30 types. Since Non-Hodgkins lymphoma has become a very broad classification, it had been further classified into two categories namely aggressive and indolent lymphomas.

Aggressive vs. Indolent

There is marked difference between aggressive and indolent lymphoma. By the terms used, the other is fast growing and spreads rapidly while the other is slow growing and would take sometime to reach other regions of the body. In cases of twins with family history of lymphoma, where the other twin is diagnosed with indolent lymphoma, is highly probable that the other twin will also be diagnosed with indolent lymphoma.

The identical genetic composition of the twins would tend to copy the symptoms of the other twin therefore whatever the other twin undergoes, the other would have almost 100% chances to experiencing the same.

There are cases where one of the twins would contract the disease ahead of the other. Where the other twin eventually does manifest symptoms of the disease and later on confirmed to have abnormal lymphocytes in his or her system, treatment patterns in the other twin could be employed. In terms of treatment, it is advisable to subject the twins to the same treatment in the event where the other twin who has undergone the treatment ahead of the other manifested favorable results.

Note that whatever form of treatment employed to help the other twin which did not get positive result would most likely have the same effect on the other twin. In this case, it is best to skip this type of treatment when treating the other, as it could also have no effect. Cancer management teams would be more successful in managing the disease if they will go directly to the treatment that worked on the other twin.

In case of twins, it is often very difficult for the close members of the family to accept this situation where two people are suffering from serious disease such as lymphoma. However, at this point, the twins could be counting on the family to stay strong and give them support no matter what happens. Therefore it is imperative that family and friends will not allow themselves to be overwhelmed with the fact that there are two people who are dear to them who could be lost to the disease.