Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Burkitt Lymphoma

Symptoms of Burkitt Lymphoma

The symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma depend on the type. The endemic (African) variant usually starts as tumors of the jaw or other facial bones. It also can affect the gastrointestinal tract, ovaries, and breasts and can spread to the central nervous system, causing nerve damage, weakness, and paralysis.

The types more commonly seen in the U.S. -- sporadic and immunodeficiency-associated -- usually start in the bowel and form a bulky tumor mass in the abdomen, often with massive involvement of the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. These variants also can start in the ovaries, testes, or other organs, and spread to the brain and spinal fluid.

Other symptoms associated with Burkitt lymphoma include:

 

Diagnosis of Burkitt Lymphoma

Because Burkitt lymphoma spreads so quickly, prompt diagnosis is essential.

If Burkitt lymphoma is suspected, all or part of an enlarged lymph node or other suspicious disease site will be biopsied. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue is examined under a microscope. This will confirm or rule out Burkitt lymphoma.

Additional tests may include:

 

Treatments for Burkitt Lymphoma

Intensive intravenous chemotherapy -- which usually involves a hospital stay -- is the preferred treatment for Burkitt lymphoma. Because Burkitt lymphoma can spread to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, chemotherapy drugs also may be injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, a treatment known as intrathecal chemotherapy.

Examples of drugs that may be used in various combinations for Burkitt lymphoma include:

Other treatments for Burkitt lymphoma may include intensive chemotherapy in combination with:

  • Rituximab (Rituxan), a monoclonal antibody that sticks to proteins on cancer cells and stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells
  • Autologous stem cell transplantation, in which the patient's stem cells are removed, stored, and returned to the body
  • Radiation therapy
  • Steroid therapy

In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove parts of the intestine that are blocked, bleeding, or have ruptured.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article