Day 8: Burkitt’s Lymphoma and Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Series: 13 days of Oncology with Kishan Sivakumar

Burkitt’s lymphoma

Burkitt’s lymphoma is a “type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)” that forms “when the body makes abnormal B lymphocytes” (“Burkitt lymphoma”). Healthy lymphocytes are white blood cells “that normally help to fight infections”; however, lymphoma causes “abnormal [lymphocyte] build up in lymph nodes or other body organs” (“Burkitt lymphoma”). The lymphatic system, or the affected system in this case, “has tubes that branch through all parts of the body” and “carry a colourless liquid called lymph”, which “circulates around the body tissue…[containing] a high number of white blood cells (lymphocytes)” (“Burkitt lymphoma”). Those who have lymphoma suffer from the lymphocytes not working correctly while “[dividing] constantly”, causing them to be unable to “fight infections [like] normal white blood cells” (“Burkitt lymphoma”). One of the types of Burkitt lymphoma is Sporadic Burkitt lymphoma, which is “linked to a virus called the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)”, causing mononucleosis (“Burkitt lymphoma”). Furthermore, Immunodeficiency-related Burkitt lymphoma, another type of Burkitt lymphoma, essentially develops from HIV, a common issue in nations that lack sexual education (“Burkitt lymphoma”). Endemic Burkitt lymphoma, the third primary type of Burkitt lymphoma, “is most common in children in Africa…[suggesting] a link with malaria and Endemic Burkitt lymphoma” (“Burkitt lymphoma”). Ultimately, there is a link between the development of sexually transmitted diseases and Burkitt lymphoma, continuing the interconnectedness between the aid of sexual education and the prevention of fatal diseases.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a type of cancer that “forms in the lining of blood and lymph vessels”, with “lesions…[developing] in the digestive tract and lungs” in severe cases (“Soft tissue sarcoma”). Furthermore, there can be “swelling in the arms or legs”, lymphoedema, as well as “stomach pain and diarrhoea” (“Kaposi’s sarcoma”). The overall cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma is “infection with a virus called human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8)”, in which “weakened immune systems…[have] the potential to trigger Kaposi’s sarcoma” (“Soft tissue sarcoma”). The contraction of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can cause “immune system damage…[that] allows cells harboring HHV-8 to multiply”, causing the formation of lesions (“Soft tissue sarcoma”). Those that have received organ transplants and “take immune system-suppressing drugs to prevent transplant rejection” have an increased probability of developing Kaposi’s sarcoma (“Soft tissue sarcoma”). Kaposi’s sarcoma can be diagnosed through a biopsy, under a “procedure [of]…local anaesthetic” or a “CT scan…to check…lymph nodes” (“Kaposi’s sarcoma”). With Kaposi’s sarcoma being a widespread disease, there are regional variants that affect “older men of Eastern European, Mediterranean and Middle Easter descent” and those from “equatorial Africa” (“Soft tissue sarcoma”). Since the disease derives from sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, it is vital for the communication of sexual education to prevent the development of Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Sources:
“Burkitt Lymphoma.” Burkitt Lymphoma | Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma | Cancer Research UK, 25
Nov. 2020,
https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/non-hodgkin-lymphoma/types/burkitt-lymphoma.

“Burkitt Lymphoma.” Lymphoma Research Foundation, 3 Dec. 2021,
https://lymphoma.org/understanding-lymphoma/aboutlymphoma/nhl/burkitt/#:~:text=Burkitt%2
0lymphoma%20is%20a%20rare,central%20nervous%20system%20(CNS).NHS Choices, NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kaposis-sarcoma/.

“Soft Tissue Sarcoma.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2
Dec. 2020,
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kaposis-sarcoma/cdc-20387726#:~:text=Kaposi’
s%20sarcoma%20is%20a%20type,area%2C%20mouth%20or%20lymph%20nodes.

Image: https://radiopaedia.org/articles/hiv-associated-neoplasms?lang=us

Kishan Sivakumar

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