Spleen cancer is cancer that establishes in your spleen — an organ located in the upper-left side of your belly. It’s part of your lymphatic system.
Your spleen’s job is to:
- filter out damaged blood cells
- prevent infection by making white blood cells, called lymphocytes
- help your blood clot by storing red blood cells and platelets
Spleen cancer can be either main or secondary. If spleen cancer is main, it starts in the spleen. If it’s secondary, it starts in another organ and infects the spleen. Both types are uncommon.
The majority of the time, cancer in the spleen is a lymphoma– a type of cancer that impacts the lymphatic system.
Another blood cancer, leukemia, can affect your spleen. In some cases, leukemia cells gather and build up in this organ.
What Are the Symptoms?
Cancer that begins in or spreads to the spleen can cause it to increase the size of. If this occurs, you may:
- feel complete after consuming
- have pain in the upper-left side of your belly
- develop frequent infections
- bleed quickly
- have anemia (low red blood cells).
- experience fatigue.
Other symptoms of cancer that impact the spleen might consist of:
- large lymph nodes.
- sweating or chills.
- weight loss.
- a swollen belly.
- chest pain or pressure.
- cough or shortness of breath.
What Causes It and Who’s at Risk?
Cancer in the spleen is usually triggered by lymphomas and leukemias. Other cancers, such as breast cancer, melanoma, and lung cancer, can spread to the spleen.
You might be most likely to develop lymphoma if you:
- are a man.
- are older in age.
- have a condition that affects your immune system, such as HIV.
- establish an infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus or Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
Threat factors for leukemia include:
- a family history of the disease.
- direct exposure to dangerous chemicals, such as benzene.
- certain congenital diseases, such as Down syndrome.
- a history of chemotherapy or radiation.
How Is It Diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects you have cancer in your spleen, they’ll probably run tests to look for other cancers. You might require bloodwork to check your blood cell counts.
In many cases, a bone marrow test might be essential. This involves taking a small sample of marrow from your hip bone to search for cancer cells.
Your doctor might likewise suggest that you have a lymph node got rid of to see if it includes cancer.
Imaging tests, such as an MRI, CT, or PET scan, might likewise be performed.
Often, surgeons perform a splenectomy, which is surgery to eliminate the spleen, to make a medical diagnosis. Examining the spleen after it’s been removed from the body can assist doctors identify what sort of cancer you have.
How Is It Treated?
If your doctor finds cancer in your spleen, you may require a splenectomy as part of your treatment. There are 2 types:
- Laparoscopic. With this operation, your surgeon will make four small incisions in your belly and use tiny video cameras to see inside. The spleen is removed through a thin tube. Since the incisions are smaller, recovery is normally easier with a laparoscopic treatment.
- Open. An open surgical treatment indicates your surgeon will make a bigger incision in the middle of your belly to eliminate your spleen. Generally, this kind of treatment needs a longer recovery.
Other treatments might be required depending upon the type of cancer you have. These may include:
- medications that target your tumor (such as biologics or targeted therapies).
- stem cell transplant (a procedure to change unhealthy bone marrow with healthy bone marrow).
Can It be Prevented?
There’s no way to completely prevent cancer in your spleen. However you may have the ability to reduce your risk.
Some viruses may lead to particular kinds of cancers. Avoid activities that might put you at risk, like having vulnerable sex or sharing needles. Also, treating any known infections quickly may help in reducing your opportunities of establishing a cancer that impacts your spleen.
Try to keep away from harmful chemicals that might raise your threat. Particularly, you might want to avoid benzene, which is frequently utilized in making plastics, lubes, rubbers, dyes, cleaning agents, drugs, and pesticides. It’s likewise found in gasoline and cigarette smoke.
Some research studies have suggested that preserving a regular weight and eating a healthy diet plan can lower your risk of cancer. Try to consume great deals of fruits and vegetables and exercise daily. Have a look at this detailed healthy consuming guide for aid beginning.
What’s the Outlook?
If you develop cancer in the spleen, it’s probably a lymphoma. Often, spleen cancer is triggered by another type of cancer that’s spread to this organ.
Your outlook will depend on how advanced your cancer is and the kind of cancer you have. See your doctor right away if you establish signs of spleen cancer. Just like most cancers, early detection can cause a much better outcome.