Colorectal lymphoma is a form of colon cancer that begins in the lymph nodes. People with lymphoma in their colon typically require some combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.
According to the
Colorectal lymphoma or lymphoma in the colon is a potentially fatal condition that is often detected only after it has already reached more advanced stages.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with colorectal lymphoma or you’re worried that you may get it, it’s important to discuss recommendations for the next steps with your healthcare team. We’ve gathered information to help you feel prepared for these discussions.
Lymphoma in the colon is extremely serious and potentially life threatening.
Additionally, colorectal cancer is the
Colorectal lymphoma is one type of colon cancer, and it begins in the lymph nodes.
Lymphoma is a general term for cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. While many types of cancers can spread to the lymph nodes, only those that begin in the lymphoid tissue are considered lymphoma.
Lymphoid tissue can be found throughout the body allowing lymphoma to form in many locations. Approximately
Symptoms of colorectal lymphoma typically develop after a tumor has already formed.
After a tumor has developed, you may experience:
- abdominal pain
- unexplained weight loss
- gastrointestinal bleeding or bloody stools
If there’s obstruction, you may also experience nausea and vomiting. However, one way that colorectal lymphoma differs from other types of colon cancers is that bowel obstruction and perforations are rare since the tumors are pliable and soft.
Diagnosis of colorectal lymphoma is tricky because this type of colon cancer can appear without symptoms.
Therefore, it’s important to consider cancer screening even before you have symptoms. This is particularly true between the
If you’re experiencing symptoms like abdominal pain and bloody bowels, your doctor may perform a physical exam looking for abdominal masses and enlarged organs. Your doctor may also perform a digital rectal exam to feel for any abnormal areas in the rectum.
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor will likely request additional tests like a colonoscopy or ultrasound. Computerized tomography (CT) scans or a double-contrast barium enema with X-ray are frequently used to identify colorectal lymphomas.
If a mass is discovered, your doctor will typically take a biopsy and run gene and protein tests on the tissue sample. If cancer is confirmed by the biopsy, MRI scans, X-rays, and blood tests may be requested to see how much of the body is affected.
There’s no one standard treatment for primary colonic lymphoma because many different factors like your symptoms and how far the cancer has spread need to be considered.
Treatment for lymphoma in the colon can include:
Surgery is the
If there’s a tumor that needs to be removed, doctors will often remove the portion of the colon with the tumor and then reconnect the ends of the colon.
In most cases, people undergo surgery to remove the tumor followed by chemotherapy. In some cases, radiation may be advised to help prevent new tumors from forming.
Because symptoms often appear so late,
One study in the review found that
Early detection of lymphoma in your colon can improve your chance of survival. Although symptoms often don’t appear until after a tumor has formed, screening tools like colonoscopies can help to identify colon cancer sooner.
If you have a family history of colon cancer, it’s important to talk with your doctor about whether you’d benefit from screening and how you can reduce your chances of getting cancer.