Hodgkin's disease, or Hodgkin's lymphoma, is a form of cancer in the lymph nodes resulting in an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells.The symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, and sweats. These diseases may be related to occupational exposure to chemicals such as Benzene.
Hodgkin's disease is a serious tumor which is a type of cancer called malignant lymphoma. The disease will often develop in lymph nodes near the collarbone, but may develop in any lymph node. Doctors theorize Hodgkin's disease is caused by a number of environmental exposures including possibly Benzene as well as genetic predispositions and a weak immune system. No one knows the cause for sure, but what is certain is that it is a very serious disease.
In a healthy lymph system, B-cells in the lymph nodes attack foreign proteins (called antigens) in a complicated process that involves mutating and genetically altering themselves to create a receptor in the B-cell that is a perfect fit to the invading antigen.
Additional immune cells, called T cells, help the receptor cells attack and bind with the antigen match to target destroy the invader as part of the immune system process. Normally, the B-cells cannot match the antigen die off, additionally after several mutations B-cells die.
In people with Hodgkin's disease, large, abnormal B cells called Reed-Sternberg cells are created during the genetic rearrangement.
The cells are flawed, and the B-cells perpetually reproduce and do not die off as normal cells do, this causes the malignancy in Hodgkin's disease.
No ones knows how or why this process is altered to cause these mutated cells. Some scientists believe Hodgkin's disease is related to the Epstein Barr virus. The Epstein Barr virus has been found within the Reed-Sternberg cells in a large number of those with Hodgkin's. Others theorize that the virus is actually protecting the Reed-Sternberg cells from death as they normally would, by hindering the immune response of killer T-cells, which ordinarily kill off any abnormal cells. Still others believe that Epstein Barr causes a mutation in the p53 gene, which the body uses to suppress tumors.
Aside from the Epstein-Barr virus, other agents and environmental factors are believed to be contributors to the disease process.
The hexagonal shape of Benzene allows the chemical to fit between base pairs in DNA to cause genetic mutations leading to leukemia and many believe Hodgkin's disease.
Subtypes of Hodgkin's Disease
There are four major subtypes of Hodgkin's disease, based on the numbers of Reed-Sternberg cells, and other issues.
Nodular sclerosis is the most common form, accounting for nearly 60% of Hodgkin's disease cases. This form is more common in younger people and appears on the increase. The lymph nodes in center of the chest are usually affected first.
Mixed cellularity accounts for about 25% of Hodgkin's disease patients, and is found in mostly in older patients and children. It is often more severe condition than other forms.
Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's disease in about 5% of patients. The cells here are different from Reed-Sternberg B-cells and are called lymphocytic and histiocytic cells.
Many patients with this form will have no symptoms; because it is slow process. This form has long survival, but carries the risk of turning into a more serious non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Lymphocyte-depleted Hodgkin's disease is the rarest form, found in 4% of patients usually in the elderly. It has a poor outlook.
If you have Hodgkin's Disease, Lymphoma and have worked with Benzene, Contact an attorney for a free case evaluation.
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