The lymphatic, or lymph, system of the human body is the main part of the body dedicated to fighting off infections and staving off disease. The system works via a system of vein-like vessels in addition to clusters of organs called the lymph nodes. The whole lymph system is essential for immunity but also plays a role in cancer.
Unlike the blood flow, the lymph system has a double role in cancer cases. Not only is it important for fighting the disease by producing white blood cells and an assortment of other critical devices in a body’s effort to eliminate the cells, but it also is among the most common methods for cancer to spread to the other areas and organs of the body via metastasis. The blood plays a role in metastasis but not in the first.
Cancer can begin in the lymphatic system. When this occurs, it’s called lymphoma. When cancer does not begin from the lymphatic system, like breast cancer, lung cancer, or pancreatic cancer, the cancer cells of the type or area can spread or metastasize throughout the lymph system very easily. Once the cells make their way to the lymph system, it’s significantly harder not only to combat the original source but also to fully cure a person.
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Fortunately, the lymph system provides an individual some warnings signs that there could be a tumor somewhere in the body. The biggest clue is that the lymph nodes are enlarged. While this may not look like a huge hint, there are lymph nodes located near the surface at the neck that may be felt with no real expertise.
Enlarged lymph nodes may also be a sign that cancer has begun somewhere and spread into the lymph system. The cells in a tumor are bent on total domination and so readily break away from a tumor. Then they can be readily picked up by the lymph and are then able to go anywhere in the body.
Breast cancer, which is a commonly spread cancer, can set up colonies throughout the body by its easy accessibility to the lymph nodes found in the arm pits in addition to under the sternum. If somebody notices that their lymph nodes are swollen, it’s somewhat easy to decide whether they’re swollen as a result of cancer. A simple biopsy will ascertain if they’re swollen because of an illness in your system or if they’re swollen as a result of cancer.