Major Forms of Cancer - Reticulum-cell sarcoma
The lymphomas also include reticulum-cell sarcoma . (A sarcoma is a malignant tumor in the connective tissue. Reticulum cells are a particular kind of connective tissue.) The disease is marked by the invasion of normal tissue by increased numbers of reticulum cells or fibers. As in the treatment of leukemia, it is important to know which of the various types of cancer has affected the lymphatic system, because each of the lymphomas responds to a different therapeutic routine.
Myeloma and Multiple Myeloma
Myelomas , once considered rare but now reported in increasing numbers, are cancerous growths that seem to originate in the bone marrow. The average age at onset is about 65. Men are twice as likely as women to be victims of myelomas.
The disease is marked by bone destruction, mainly in the pelvis, ribs, and spine. The bones break easily, sometimes causing collapse of the spinal column and pressure on the spinal cord. There also may be anemia, kidney damage, and changes in the blood chemistry. When the myelomas occur at numerous sites in the bone marrow throughout the body, the disease is known as multiple myeloma .
Various methods of treating lymphomas have evolved despite serious difficulties. Lymphomas appear in many different forms, and can change form in the process of spreading to another part of the body. Different types may be found in a single lymph gland.
Despite these difficulties, many chemotherapeutic agents have been found useful in treatment of lymphomas. To an extent, the preferred drugs fall in the same categories as those used in treating leukemia. The principal drugs, thus, include:
- • alkalyting agents, such as nitrogen mustard, cyclophosphamide, and chlorambucil;
- • vinca alkaloids, among them vincristine and vinblastine;
- • procarbazine, which works like the alkylating agents;
- • antibiotics, which work to reduce or eliminate tumors, including Adri-amycin and actinomycin D; and
- • the corticosteroids, combinations of agents including hormones, acids, and other body elements.
These and other drags have been used in various combinations in the treatment of lymphomas. One of the more successful has been named for the four drugs that are included in the protocol, or treatment series. The four are nitrogen mustard, vincristine (Oncovin), Procarbazine, and Prednisone; the combination treatment is known as MOPP. The treatment is used at certain stages of lymphoma, and has encouraged medical specialists to consider lymphoma as potentially curable.
In addition to drug therapy, methods of treating lymphomas include irradiation therapy, or radiotherapy, and a combination of drugs and radiotherapy.