B-cell Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) is a type of blood cancer that occurs due to rapid and uncontrollable growth of B-lymphocytes (B-cells). The tumors develop in the ‘mantle zone’ of the lymph mode, and gradually make their way to the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow. Most people suffering from MCL encounter swelling of the lymph nodes or glands. Although this disease spreads rapidly, in certain cases it may take time to cause serious damage, especially affecting older men. Early symptoms of MCL include loss of appetite and weight, nausea, fatigue, fever and pain in the lower back.
MCL can be diagnosed with the help of a thorough biopsy and blood test to keep a count on the white blood cells, Computed Axial Tomography Scan and measure of certain protein levels present in the blood cells. Treatment of MCL usually depends on a number of factors such as the stage of disease, age of the patient, and their overall health condition. If detected at an early stage, there are higher chances of a successful and curable result post treatment. However, after a proper diagnosis, your treatment options may include- chemotherapy which helps in destroying the cancer cells; immunotherapy which prompts immune system to fight and kill the cancer cells; targeted therapy or medication that prevents the cancer cells to function and spread with the help of certain proteins; stem cell transplant wherein the stem cells are moved from the bone marrow to the bloodstream.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) is diagnosed by examining the cells under a microscope, a process more commonly known as biopsy. Other general tests that prove to be useful are: blood tests, x-rays and scan, bone marrow samples etc. People who undergo diagnosis at the initial stage (stage 1 or 2) can be cured with radiotherapy where only the affected areas need to be treated. In case the patient reaches the advanced stage, it is necessary to undergo a systematic treatment that affects the whole body. Indolent or low-grade MCL allows the lymphoma cells to enter your bloodstream but the lymphoma glands may not grow much. Doctors in this case usually suggest active monitoring or follow regular checkups until the patient experiences serious complications.
Fast growing or high-grade MCL requires monoclonal antibody treatment like rituximab that target certain proteins on cancer cells and destroy them; chemotherapy which allows anti-cancer drugs to destroy the cells by intravenous injection or in the form of tablets; in addition to these, there’s another option which is a combination of rituximab and chemotherapy that includes R-CVP, R-CHOP, FCR. For people who are capable to cope up with the side effects of such intensive therapies are usually given a high dose of chemotherapy drug called Cytarabine.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) is a rare form of blood cancer that grows rapidly to affect the lymph nodes and ultimately damages other body parts. People suffering from bone marrow disorders are likely to go for chemotherapy. Although MCL is more common in men than in women, it can happen to anyone. The symptoms that are most likely to be noticed are swelling and pain in the neck or groin, fatigue, people experiencing a loss of appetite and weight loss, high temperature etc.
People undergoing a chemotherapy treatment are prone to certain complications such as dehydration, anemia, reduced number of infection fighting cells, certain drugs damaging the heart. Any person showing any of these traits, are not eligible for MCL treatment. However, in advanced stages, chemotherapy becomes inevitable.
Treatment of Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) comes with a few side effects depending on the course of treatment and the patient’s immune system or health condition. The most common side effects include high fever or fatigue, nausea and diarrhea, infection and skin rashes due to frequent chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions, hair loss and breathlessness, pain in the lower back and sudden numbness in certain body parts like hands or feet. It is important that you consult a doctor before you undergo any treatment for this disease. While some may be fit enough to cope up with these side effects, others may show serious and fatal health issues.
There are no fixed guidelines after the treatment of MCL disease. However, people are often advised to look after their health conditions after undergoing strenuous chemotherapy sessions for a prolonged time because they disrupt the immune system and ultimately result in deterioration of health. Patients are recommended to appear for regular follow ups after the span of treatment, in order to make sure the chances of MCL recurrence is low.
Recovery from MCL disorder after treatment takes time since the side effects continue for a longer period of time. Moreover, a patient’s physical fitness and immunity plays a vital role in the recovery. Low grade lymphoma treatment may take a few sessions for 3-6 months while high grade lymphoma treatment at advanced stage may take much longer period to recover from therapy and tests.
The expense of undergoing chemotherapy treatment in India roughly accounts to Rs. 30,000- Rs. 1,000,00 per session. Before going for the therapy, certain diagnostic procedures are followed which include biopsy, scans, and blood tests. For foreign citizens, the cost of treatment may still be 60-70% higher than the estimated price mentioned above.
While about 50-90% of people respond to combination chemotherapy, 30% show an active response to the treatment, and only 5-10% patients survive for about 10 years. Treatment of MCL does not always guarantee complete recovery from the disease. The cancer may relapse and cause severe health complications in a later time.