Nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that mainly affects the lymph nodes. The types of lymphoma are generally categorized into two types – Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s.
The difference can be seen under a microscope when the cancerous cells are looked at. Nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma is a rare form of lymphoma that mainly affects older people. It is what is known as a “low-grade” cancer meaning that it is a very slow-growing cancer. Unfortunately there is no cure.
Signs & Symptoms
Usually the first sign of nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma is a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, groin or armpits. Since it manifests itself in this manner it is often detected and diagnosed in the early stages. Other non-specific symptoms can include an ongoing fever and unexplained weight loss.
If nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma is suspected your doctor will perform a biopsy and look at the cells under a microscope. Once this diagnosis is confirmed they will use other tests such as a CT scan, blood tests and bone marrow tests to determine if the cancer has spread. As mentioned, thankfully nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma is usually detected and diagnosed early. This is always helpful in determining a treatment plan and working toward the best possible prognosis.
As with many other types of cancer the treatment for nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma depends on the stage of the cancer. Early stages affect only one area of lymph nodes, but later stages have spread to other areas. Since it is such a slow-growing cancer doctors do sometimes take a “watch and wait” approach to patients who are not experiencing negative symptoms. These patients are monitored frequently to track how and where the cancer is growing. For nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma that does require treatment chemotherapy is usually the first choice. This may be given in pill form or by infusion directly into the cancerous cells.
If the nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma is diagnosed early and it has not spread the prognosis is quite good. Most patients have a positive response to treatment. They can manage the disease for many years and still live a normal life.