The lymphatic system is part of the body’s germ-fighting network, comprising lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow. When cancer begins in the lymphatic system, it is called lymphoma. Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin are the two main types of lymphoma, the latter being the most common. Both types are often treatable, especially if detected in the initial stages. Here are some treatment options, foods to eat and avoid, and other ways that help manage lymphoma:
Treatment options for all types of lymphoma usually include a combination of therapies. One of the most common therapies is an oral therapy, such as IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib). IMBRUVICA® is used to treat mantle cell lymphoma, small lymphocytic lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, and other types of cancers. The active substance in IMBRUVICA®, ibrutinib, inhibits the enzyme Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK), which is linked to lymphoma. IMBRUVICA® is typically taken once a day and can work alone or together with other treatments. Common side effects include diarrhea, tiredness, rash, bruising, muscle pain, and bone pain. Other treatment options for lymphoma include chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplantation.
Foods to eat and avoid
Although no specific food or meal plan can cure lymphoma, eating and avoiding certain foods can help ease symptoms and reduce the side effects of treatments. It is recommended to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in a variety of antioxidants that help fight cancer. These include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, avocados, and oranges. One must also load up cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. These veggies contain compounds called glucosinolates, which may help prevent lymphoma relapse. Lymphoma patients with lower levels of white blood cells must avoid foods and drinks that may contain live bacteria, such as probiotic yogurts, kefir, kimchi, raw honey, or blue or mold-ripened cheeses.
Making certain lifestyle modifications can help manage lymphoma. One of the most effective lifestyle changes is to exercise regularly. 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week has been proven to be beneficial for those with the disease. This can include jogging, cycling, swimming, and other workouts to build muscle and bone strength. Daily physical activity also helps reduce anxiety and fatigue, both of which can make living with lymphoma challenging. To manage stress better, one may try meditation, yoga, tai chi, and other forms of relaxation techniques.