Follicular Dendritic Cell Tumor

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Follicular dendritic cell tumor is a rare type of blood cancer that grows from cells in your lymph nodes. Your lymph nodes are oval shaped organs in your body that help to make cells needed to fight infection in your body. The cells in the lymph nodes that cause follicular dendritic cell tumors are called follicular dendritic cells. These cells specifically make white blood cells, which are the main cells that fight disease in our body. The follicular dendritic cells mainly work to recognize cells that are unwanted in the body and help them to be attacked by the cells from the lymph nodes.

The symptoms of this condition vary based on the case and where in the body the tumor develops. Most often, the first symptom is the swelling of a lymph node in the neck. Other symptoms include coughing, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and becoming tired more often. This tumor is diagnosed through medical scans such as a CT scan, PET scan or an x-ray of the chest. When a lump is found, part of the tumor is taken and looked at under a microscope to determine whether or not the tumor is cancerous.

While this condition is not linked to a specific gene, there are protein markers including CD21, CD23, and CD35 found in the tumors that can help confirm the diagnosis. The causes of this condition are unknown since it is so rare, with fewer than 100 cases having ever been reported in medical history. Treatment for follicular dendritic cell tumor usually involves surgery to remove the tumor, but varies based on the case. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with follicular dendritic tell tumors, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.

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