Burkitt’s Lymphoma

This morning I was on facebook and came across an old high school friend’s status update about leaving the hospital for a couple of weeks and it drew me to look at his profile and find out why he was in the hospital in the first place.  I saw that many people had commented on his wall with sentiments.  I then found a note that he had written back in late November about what was going on.  In a nutshell, he was diagnosed with a very rare cancer called Burkitt’s Lymphoma.  His story inspired me to research and write a health blog about the disease, as many people, including myself have never even heard of it.

Burkitt’s Lymphoma is a form of cancer that most commonly occurs in children in Africa, the endemic type.  Only a very few cases occur outside of Africa; this is called the sporadic type.  There is another type of Burkitt’s Lymphoma that is associated with immunodificiency diseases, such as HIV, or in people with lowered immune systems, such as transplant patients.

It is believed that all three types are linked to the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).  This virus is a type of herpes simplex virus.  Most people infected with EBV manifest with Infectious Mononucleosis, or Mono in lay terms.  Others infected with EBV may have no manifestation and the virus lies dormant.  In both cases, the virus still lingers.  If someone is infected with EBV at a time that their immunity is low, they are more likely to develop Burkitt’s Lymphoma later in life.  Also, if someone was infected with EBV in the past, and approaches a time when their immunity faulters, the same can occur for them.

Burkitt’s Lymphoma is most often cureable.  It is a Non-Hodgkin’s type of Lymphoma, meaning it does not show the Reed-Sternberg cell found in Hodgkin’s Disease.  The disease is most often found in the jaw, distal ilium (lower end of the large intestine), cecum (where small intestine and large intestine meet), ovaries, kidney, or breasts.  It is a lymphatic cancer so it can spread very quickly, as the lymph nodes run through the entire body and are all connected in some way.  It is treated based on where the cancer is found and when the disease is diagnosed.  Chemotherapy is most often the choice of treatment.  Since Burkitt’s is such a fast growing type of cancer, it responds very quickly to Chemotherapy and can be completely cured.

My prayers go out to Nathan and his family.  Stay strong and you can definitely beat this disease!

Sources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001308.htm

http://www.chereejones.com/faq.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burkitt%27s_lymphoma

Washing your hands can save your life!

Everybody has done it.  You’re running late to get back to work from your lunch break, your in a hurry to finish cooking dinner so you can rest, or you’re just plain lazy;  you didn’t even think or worry about washing your hands after you used the restroom, chopped up that juicy steak, or sneezed in your hand.  It’s a tale told many times, but did you know that by skipping the one simple step of washing your hands, you could be contaminating yourself and others with Escherichia Coli (E. Coli), Salmonella, or Myobacterium Tuberculosis?

E. Coli

E. Coli

Though only three diseases have been mentioned in this blog, millions upon millions of diseases are transferred through hand-mouth contact and can be prevented by simply washing your hands!

Everyone should know to wash your hands after everytime you use the restroom.  But there are many other times that are neglected when it is important to wash your hands.  DId you ever think to wash your hands after using the pen you signed in with at the doctor’s office?  Not many people think about this, but how many contaminated hands have touched that pen?  Not only have the people today touched it, but the people from yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that too.  That’s a lot of germs just lingering on one little ink pen.

I’m not asking peole to be OCD about washing their hands, because there’s no need to run off to a sink everytime you touch something you think might be contaminated.  There are many things you can do to prevent your hands from even being contaminated.  When you sneeze or cough use your elbow to cover your mouth; you don’t touch many things with your elbow and you don’t really use your elbow for much else, so put it to use!  Then there’s always hand sanitizer.  It would be a very good idea for everyone to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with them.  It saves a lot of trouble from having to run and wash your hands.  Hand sanitizer has been proven to be just as effective as washing your hands.

Now that I’ve given a few examples of why handwashing is important and when you should wash your hands, can you think of any other times in your daily routine when handwashing could protect you from being contaminated with millions of little germs?  Write them in the comments!

Health Topics

I have decided to dedicated a section of my blog to current health issues and information.  This section will contain original works by me based on reasearch from journals and health articles pertaining to current health events.  Stay tuned for a new health blog every week!