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Burkitt Lymphoma

(Burkitt's Lymphoma)


Peter Martin

, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine;

John P. Leonard

, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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Burkitt lymphoma can develop at any age, but it is most common in children and young adults, particularly males. Unlike other lymphomas, Burkitt lymphoma has a specific geographic distribution: It is most common in central Africa and rarer in the United States. Infection with Epstein-Barr virus Infectious Mononucleosis Epstein-Barr virus causes a number of diseases, including infectious mononucleosis. The virus is spread through kissing. Symptoms vary, but the most common are extreme fatigue, fever, sore throat... read more Infectious Mononucleosis is associated with Burkitt lymphoma. It is also more common in people who have HIV infection Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection read more .

Burkitt lymphoma grows and spreads quickly, often to the bone marrow, blood, and central nervous system. When it spreads, weakness and fatigue often develop. Large numbers of lymphoma cells may accumulate in the lymph nodes Overview of the Lymphatic System The lymphatic system is a vital part of the immune system. It includes organs such as the thymus, bone marrow, spleen, tonsils, appendix, and Peyer patches in the small intestine that produce... read more Overview of the Lymphatic System and organs of the abdomen, causing swelling. Lymphoma cells may invade the small intestine, resulting in blockage or bleeding. The neck and jaw may swell, sometimes painfully. To make the diagnosis, doctors do a biopsy of the abnormal tissue and order other procedures to stage the disease.

Without treatment, Burkitt lymphoma is rapidly fatal. Rarely, surgery may be needed to remove parts of the intestine that are blocked or bleeding or have ruptured. Intensive chemotherapy Chemotherapy Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Although an ideal drug would destroy cancer cells without harming normal cells, most drugs are not that selective. Instead, drugs... read more , which includes chemotherapy to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord to prevent spread to these areas, can cure more than 80% of people.

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