Slow growing lymphoma is often detected during the advance stages of the cancer. Many patients who go to the hospital and report symptoms are already well into the third or the fourth stage of the disease.
Although a lot of patient would be more than happy to see a doctor and report any bodily abnormalities as soon as they detect that something is wrong with their system, patient with slow growing lymphoma often miss the opportunity of detecting the disease at an early stage.
The reason why very few slow growing lymphomas are detected at an early stage is that slow growing lymphomas do not manifest any symptoms at all during the early stage.
Early Detection is Problematic
Slow growing or low-grade lymphoma as the term tells us, is very slow in growing. At an early stage, it could hardly be detected and many patients who have them never experience any symptoms at all until their condition hits higher stage.
Most cases of early detection can be attributed to accident or chance. In some patients, slow growing lymphoma is detected during routine physical check ups, x-rays and blood tests.
During these routine check ups, the doctor may notice some swelling in the lymph nodes of the patient, which could lead to some suspicions that the lymphatic system is performing abnormally. Where there is a reason to believe that there is something wrong with the patients lymphatic system, further tests should be taken to ascertain the cause of the abnormality.
Like all other types of lymphoma, the cancer cells attack the lymphocytes. As the lymphocytes begin to divide and grow out of control, this may cause swelling in the lymph nodes especially those in the neck area, the armpit or the groin.
Where the patient have slow growing lymphoma, the swelling could progress very slow that it is difficult for the patient to detect the changes until the cancer have reached the advanced stage. Although slow growing lymphomas are quite inert or indolent, this type of lymphoma is more difficult to treat than those aggressive and fast growing lymphomas.
Slow growing lymphomas respond slowly to treatment and are less likely to be totally cured than aggressive lymphomas. Often times, slow growing lymphoma would not respond immediately to the first line, standard treatment like the fast growing or high-grade types of lymphoma. In most cases, slow growing lymphoma would need more aggressive treatments as compared to fast growing lymphomas.
Some Good News
However, the good news is that since this type of lymphoma is really slow growing, the patient can still live a normal life after treatment. Even those slow growing lymphomas that cant be totally cured can be coaxed to remission with the proper treatment.
It may take a bit longer to treat slow growing lymphomas that those fast growing lymphomas but the good news is, where the slow growing lymphoma is subdued, it would take a long time to come back.
Since the nature of this type of lymphoma is that it is indolent and grows very slowly, even if the patient does have recurrence of the disease, it would still take a long time before the disease could overtake the persons system.