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CNS Lymphoma

Baylor Scott & White Neuro-Oncology Associates

What Is CNS Lymphoma?

Central Nervous System (CNS) lymphoma is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the lymph tissue of the brain and/or spinal cord. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and is made up of the lymph, lymph vessels, lymph node, spleen, thymus, tonsils, and bone marrow. Lymphocytes carried in the lymph, travel in and out of the central nervous system.

What Are The Symptoms Of CNS Lymphoma?

Cancer cells form in the lymphatic tissue in the brain; this is often in an area called the cerebrum. Symptoms may include:

  • An increase in pressure within the skull
  • Changes in behavior and personality 
  • Seizures
  • Changes in balance and movement
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Problems with vision

What Causes A CNS Lymphoma?

The cause of CNS lymphoma is not usually known. Most patients who develop this type of cancer have a normal immune system, however, it may affect people whose immune system is not working properly - for example, in people with HIV or after organ transplants. 

What Are The Treatments For CNS Lymphoma?

Treatment for CNS lymphoma will depend on your situation and general health. Treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy; this is usually the main treatment for CNS lymphoma and uses anti-cancer medications to destroy cancer cells. Your physician will discuss chemotherapy options with you.
  • Radiotherapy; this treatment uses high energy rays to destroy the cancer cells.
  • Steroids ; this treatment is used to reduce swelling around the lymphoma and may shrink it. Steroids improve symptoms and help you feel better. If you have raise pressure in the brain, you will be treated with steroids right away.
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