HIV, AIDS, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Diagnosing Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Your doctor will complete a physical exam. Your doctor will also ask you about your history of health habits, past illnesses, and treatments. It's likely that your doctor will order tests like these:
- Blood tests, to check levels of different types of blood cells, enzymes, and other substances
Lymph node biopsy, which involves removing part or all of a lymph node and examining it under a microscope
Bone marrow biopsy, which involves removing bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of bone from your hipbone or breastbone and examining it under a microscope.
- Chest X-ray or CT scan, which creates a picture of organs and bones inside your chest
A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After diagnosis, you will likely need imaging tests to find how far the cancer has spread.
If you're diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, you're at greater risk for an opportunistic infection called pneumocystis pneumonia. Your doctor may suggest that you take medications to prevent it.
Treating Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
HIV therapy can make a big difference in the outcome of your cancer. How successful your treatment is (called your prognosis) depends on several factors like these:
- How advanced the cancer is (the stage)
- The number of CD4 cells you have
- Whether or not you've had other AIDS-related opportunistic infections
These are different types of treatment you may need for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
involves using high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. You may receive radiation from a machine outside your body. Or a radioactive substance may be placed inside your body. Although radiation may cause side effects such as fatigue, skin problems, and stomach upset, these are often short-lived. Long-term side effects are more serious:
is the use of special drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. They may work by killing the cells or by keeping them from dividing. You may receive them by:
Mouth or by injection into a vein or muscle, reaching the whole body (called systemic treatment)
- Placement directly into one part of your body (called regional treatment)