Burkitt's lymphoma (patient information)
Burkitt's lymphoma On the Web
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Burkitt lymphoma is one kind of B-cell lymphoma, also one type of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is named after the doctor who first described this disease in African children and young adults. Its cells are medium sized. Close to 90% of patients are male, and the average age is about 30. It is a very fast-growing lymphoma and over half of patients can be cured by intensive chemotherapy.
What are the symptoms of Burkitt's lymphoma?
- Burkitt lymphoma may first be noticed as a swelling of the lymph nodes (glands) in the neck, groin, or under the arm. These swollen lymph nodes are often painless, but can grow very rapidly.
- In the types commonly seen in the United States, the cancer usually starts in the belly area (abdomen). The disease can also start in the ovaries, testes, brain, and spinal fluid.
- Symptoms include:
- Lymph nodes that grow together to form a lump
- Nontender lymph nodes
- Rapid growth of the lymph nodes
- Unexplained swollen lymph nodes
What causes Burkitt's lymphoma?
- Burkitt lymphoma was first discovered in children in certain parts of Africa, but it also occurs in the United States.
- The African type of Burkitt lymphoma is closely associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the main cause of infectious mononucleosis. The North American form of Burkitt lymphoma is not linked to EBV.
- Burkitt lymphoma is most often seen in males.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma.
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Chest x-ray
- CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Examination of the spinal fluid
- Lymph node biopsy
- PET scan
Chemotherapy is used to treat this type of cancer. Commonly used medicines include:
- Methotrexate, and
Where to find medical care for Burkitt's lymphoma?
Directions to Hospitals Treating Burkitt lymphoma
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
More than half of those with Burkitt lymphoma can be cured with intensive chemotherapy. The cure rate may be lower if the cancer spreads to the bone marrow or spinal fluid.
- Complications of treatment (radiation therapy or chemotherapy)
- Spread of the cancer
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