B-cell lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that commonly forms in the lymph glands but may also form in the spleen, bone marrow, blood or other areas of the body. It occurs when a certain type of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, called B cells, begin to grow abnormally. B cells produce antibodies and help our bodies fight infection. The majority of B-cell lymphomas are non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the more common types being diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), which is usually aggressive (fast moving), and follicular lymphoma, which is usually indolent (slow moving).
Possible symptoms and diagnosis of B-cell lymphoma
Aside from swollen lymph nodes, some possible indicators of B-cell lymphoma include:
- Bone pain
- General fatigue and tiredness
- Itching all over the body with no sign of rash
- Night sweats
- Unexplained fevers
- Unintentional weight loss
Not all symptoms indicate cancer, but if you have concerns about symptoms you're having, be sure to let your doctor know.
If cancer is suspected, a biopsy may be performed to determine the existence of cancer cells. If cancer is detected, additional testing may be needed to identify the type of cells, any genetic indicators, and how the cells are behaving.
B-cell lymphoma treatment options
Whether your cancer is moving quickly or slowly is the most important factor in determining treatment for your B-cell lymphoma. Our Main Line Health oncology team will evaluate your overall health, the stage of your disease, and other factors unique to you, to help guide your decisions around treatment options.
The most common treatment options for B-cell lymphoma are:
- Radiotherapy – radiation treatment
- Immunotherapy – triggers body's immune response to fight the cancer
- Radioimmunotherapy – targets tumor cells, less damage to normal tissue
- Stem cell transplantation – also called bone marrow transplant
Stem cell transplant is considered only as a final course of action.