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How is non hodgkins lymphoma transmitted?

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Posted on Mon, 28 Jul 2014
Question: When my baby (now 4 months) was 3 weeks old he was held by my son right after a chemo treatment. I mean a couple hours after his treatment for non hodgkins lymphoma. I have been in a panic ever since if my son was sweating or didn't wash good after going to the test room is my baby now at greater risk for cancer? Please give me an honest answer! I will give a good rating even if it's bad news I just want to know if I need to keep worrying. Could this 15-20 minute encounter cause cancer or other problems for my baby?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (46 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No risk of cancer or any other problem to the baby

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing in to us.

I have read your query in detail.
There is absolutely no need to worry about transmission of cancer including Non Hodgkins Lymphoma to your baby from your son who held him about a couple of hours after chemotherapy treatment.

I have worked in a cancer hospital for years and would like to inform you that cancer occurs due to a change in the DNA sequence in the cells which further multiply and replicate in dangerous and uncontrollable fashion.

A 15 to 20 minute meeting with a person who just had chemotherapy is in no way going to affect the chances of acquiring cancer or any other problems in your baby.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (4 minutes later)
Even if he was sweating (he didn't appear to be when I returned home) or if he didn't wash his hands after using the bathroom?I'm just worried that the sweat could have penetrated through my baby's skin and could cause his DNA to change. My baby started losing his hair about a month ago which worries me further. Thank you
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (17 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No risk of cancer

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

There is no way sweat or any material can enter your baby and change the DNA sequence even if he was sweating or didnt wash after using the bathroom.

Hair fall in a baby is common in the first six months of life. The hair is in a growing and resting phase and after the resting phase the hairs fall off. The hair will regrow soon afterwards.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (2 minutes later)
Thank you so much for easing my mind and for going into detail. I feel much better!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (5 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Welcome

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
You are welcome and I am glad to help you out with your query.

Wishing you good health.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (8 days later)
Now I'm reading that I should have washed his silverware 2 times and ran it through the dishwasher. I just washed it in the dishwasher. My son was only here 2 days during chemo. The rest of the time he stayed in my parents lake house. Im worried about those 2 days, im breastfeeding should I continue? I'm worried now about blankets and silverware on those 2 days. Why doesn't the doctor mention any of this before treatment. Am I just being paranoid? I am just scared to death another one of my children is going to get cancer. I have a 9, 6 and 4 month old in the home.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (5 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Please continue breast feeds

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

Your concern being a mother is genuine but if there is absolutely no risk of your 4 month old getting any form cancer due to the silverware and blankets.

Let me put it in simple words, any cancer patient is more prone to infections and even in worst of scenarios there could only be an infection which might have been transmitted to the younger one. Fortunately, such an event has not occurred and so there is no reason to regret not doing the silverware twice in the dishwasher. Breast feeding must continue and this provides better nutrition and immunity to the 4 month old, its kind of protective to continue.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (10 hours later)
How do you think my son got non Hodgkin lymphoma? He thinks he got it from being around his friend while he was going through chemo for a brain tumor. This is the kind of secondary cancer that cancer patients get from chemo right? He has just always been so healthy it doesn't make sense. Is it from me I had thyroid cancer 15 years ago. I got it from radiation exposure to an acne light. One more thing he has one more shot Monday. Then he will just have scans (pet scans I believe). Will he need to stay away from the kids for awhile after those? Thank you so much!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (6 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Its not from his friend but a matter of chance

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

It is unfortunate that your son got non Hodgkin lymphoma. It is a lymph node based cancer and generally involves the presence of cancerous lymphocytes in your lymph nodes. It can be found in lymphatic tissues like lymphatic vessels, tonsils, adenoids, spleen, thymus and bone marrow and also in non lymphatic areas. This condition can occur purely as a matter of chance due to malignant proliferation of abnormal cells. It is surely not from his friend who was getting treated for brain tumor. I have seen quite a lot of once healthy appearing children fighting non Hodgkin lymphoma successfully. Secondary cancer never occurs due to contact with a cancer patient.

He may need to stay away from possible sources of common infections and that may include kids. This is for the benefit of your son who is getting chemo and not for the baby.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (17 hours later)
Thank you again for always going into detail! It really helps! Have a great day
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (13 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Welcome

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
You are welcome and hope your queries are answered.

Wishing you good health.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (12 days later)
My son that just finished chemo was just told his scan shows swollen lymph nodes. He needs another biopsy. Does this usually happen with chemo? Could it be an infection should I keep him away from the little kids or if it was an infection would he be coughing etc? Thanks
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (5 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Biopsy is essential to guide chemo treatment

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

Non hodgkins lymphoma is a condition which can have variable appearances and even during chemo the patient has to be carefully monitored for any progression of disease. Each patient is different and when swollen lymphnodes appear, they need a biopsy to make sure if the treatment is working. It could be an infection and this is an area of concern which needs clarification and therefore the biopsy.

Infections are also of many types depending on the infective organism and organs involved. A cough would be seen if the respiratory passages were to be involved. The commonest symptom of an infection is fever and generalized weakness.

True fact is that your elder son might be having a weaker immunity than the baby. This means that the elder son needs more attention. There chances of the elder one getting an infection from the baby may be higher. Anyway, please discuss the infection part in detail with your doctor.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (11 hours later)
His biopsy is tomorrow. Should I have him stay at the lake house until we find out? I'm trying to just get through and protect all my kids. My 6 year old is allergic to antibiotics and my youngest just turned 5 months so neither of them need to get an infection. If he doesn't have a fever does that mean it probably isn't an infection. I'm hoping it is an infection because he was supposed to be done with chemo. Can the chemo cause lymph nodes to swell.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Hope for the best

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

Lets pray that the biopsy results come as benign and not so serious. I agree that none of you need to get an infection. Having the elder one stay at the lake house is fine as long there is a responsible adult to take care of his needs.

It is important to know the status of these particular lymph nodes before chemo was started. There are observable changes in lymph nodes once chemo is started. Infections may or may not have fever as a component. If there is pain in the lymphnodes then the possibility of infections is more likely.

Chemo by itself should not cause lymphnodes to swell.

Lets hope for the best.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (24 minutes later)
Is it a reasonable concern to have him stay at the lake house? I don't want to hurt his feelings or have him feel like we're throwing him out. He says he doesn't mind and it is a nice place. I just want to keep all of them safe. He says the lymphnode doesn't hurt and no fever. It only showed a little swollen in the pet scan. I appreciate your time and patience
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (32 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
He can stay with other kids in clean surroundings

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

I suppose there is no additional risk even if he stays with the smaller kids in the same house as long the house itself is kept clean and tidy.

The lymphnode not hurting and absence of fever may point towards residual disease which may require further treatment. If slightly swollen then it may only require observation. This can be discussed only after knowing complete clinical details of disease course and treatment being given.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Vivek Chail

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How is non hodgkins lymphoma transmitted?

Brief Answer: No risk of cancer or any other problem to the baby Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX Thanks for writing in to us. I have read your query in detail. There is absolutely no need to worry about transmission of cancer including Non Hodgkins Lymphoma to your baby from your son who held him about a couple of hours after chemotherapy treatment. I have worked in a cancer hospital for years and would like to inform you that cancer occurs due to a change in the DNA sequence in the cells which further multiply and replicate in dangerous and uncontrollable fashion. A 15 to 20 minute meeting with a person who just had chemotherapy is in no way going to affect the chances of acquiring cancer or any other problems in your baby. Hope your query is answered. Do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek