Toxic Chemical Found in Weed Killers Linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Weeds are a challenge for many of us. Most of us are familiar with the struggle to remove these nuisances from our yards each year. One of the most common ways to deal with weeds is by using an herbicide, such as Monsanto’s Roundup. We know these chemicals do their job in getting rid of weeds, but are they safe for us? Recent studies show this may not be the case.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research of Cancer released a report sharing that glyphosate, an active chemical commonly found in herbicides, is linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL). Other studies show that farmworkers in the U.S. have a 60% chance increased risk of developing NHL due to their likely exposure to glyphosate.
Additionally, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicology department investigated glyphosate in 1985 and determined that it was a possible carcinogen. This means that glyphosate based herbicides have been used by millions of users for years without the knowledge of the potential health ramifications.
Those who have been exposed to glyphosate for 8 hours or more are most at risk. Occupations with the highest risk include:
- Nursery employees
- Garden center employees
- What is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
NHL is a form of cancer that begins in white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are found within the body’s lymphatic system which helps move fluids throughout the body and plays a key role within the immune system.
There are two types of lymphocytes NHL can infect:
- B Lymphocytes (B Cells): help the body fight against bacteria and germs by creating antibodies. B cell lymphomas are the most common in the U.S.
- T Lymphocytes (T Cells): there are a few different forms of T cells. Some of which destroy abnormal cells in the body, while others help slow the activity of other cells within the immune system.
Since multiple types of lymphomas can form from each different cell, it is extremely important to know which type you have. Different types of NHL require different kinds of treatment.
- Types of NHL
B cell lymphomas:
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
- The most common type of NHL in the U.S.
- Occurs mostly in patients in their mid-60s
- Tends to be an aggressive lymphoma, but typically responds well to treatment
- Usually a slow growing lymphoma
- 60 is the average age patients develop this type of lymphoma
- Typically responds well to treatment, but very hard to cure
Chronis lymphocytic leukemia/Small lymphocytic lymphoma
- Although two different diseases, they are closely related
- Both are slow growing lymphomas
- Treatment is the same, but usually not curable, but those who are diagnosed can live years with the disease
Mantle cell lymphoma
- More common in men than women
- Most commonly occurs in patients over the age of 60
- Grows faster than other types, but doesn’t respond as well to treatment
Marginal zone lymphomas
Three main types:
Extranodal marginal zone
- Most common
- Curable if found early
Nodal marginal zone
- Very rare
- Mainly found in older women
- Curable if found early
Splenic marginal zone
- Very rare
- Mainly found in older men
- May not need to be treated unless symptoms become an issue
- More commonly found in children and men
- Grows extremely fast. Treatment should be sought as early as possible
Hairy cell leukemia
- Although called a leukemia, sometimes it is considered a type of lymphoma
- Only about 700 Americans are diagnosed each year
- More common in men
- Slow growing-- some patients may never need treatment
Primary central nervous system lymphoma
- Rare overall, but more common in older patients
- Poor prognosis
- Most patients respond well to treatment
T cell lymphomas
Precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma/leukemia
- Cancer cells are early forms of T cells
- More common in teens and young adults
- Fast growing-- depends on where the cancer has spread, the chances of curing the lymphoma with treatment is high.
Peripheral T-cell lymphomas
- Develop in older T cells
- Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas: start in the skin
- Adult T-cell lymphoma: Rare in the U.S. There are 4 subtypes:
- Smoldering-- grows slowly, good prognosis
- Chronic-- grows slowly, good prognosis
- Acute-- most common. Grows quickly, treatment is needed immediately
- Lymphoma-- grows quickly, but not as fast as acute
Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma:
- Most common in older patients
- Treatment is effective but the lymphoma usually returns
Extranodal natural killer
- Very rare, most common in South America and Asia
Enteropathy-associated intestinal T-cell lymphoma
- Type I-- occurs in people with celiac disease. More common in men.
- Type II-- not linked to celiac disease.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- Most common in young patients
- Three different forms:
- Primary cutaneous: Only affects the skin
- Systemic-- two types (positive and negative). Positive has a better prognosis
- Breast implant-- associated: rare type that develops in women who have More common in textured implants
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma
- Lymphomas that do not fit into other categories
- The symptoms
NHL symptoms commonly reported include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Unintentional weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Easy bruising
- Frequent infections
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have NHL. If you do have these symptoms, it is always important to consult your doctor.
- What are the NHL facts patients and their loved ones should know?
How many patients are diagnosed with NHL annually?
According to the American Cancer Society, NHL accounts for 4% of all cancers within the US. In 2017, about 72,240 people will be diagnosed while 20,140 will die from NHL.
What is the typical age of someone diagnosed with NHL?
While NHL can develop within someone at any age, the most common cases occur in those who are 60 or older.
Does NHL occur with men or women more frequently?
There are certain types of NHL that are more common in women, however overall, the risk of NHL is higher in men.
Where can NHL develop?
There are multiple areas in which NHL can develop within the body including:
- Lymph Nodes—bean sized collections of immune system cells throughout the body.
- Bone Marrow—spongy tissue inside bones. New blood cells are made here.
- Spleen—the organ under the lower ribs on the left-hand side of the body. The spleen makes lymphocytes and stores healthy blood vessels.
- Thymus—small organ located in front of the hear.
- Adenoids & Tonsils—collections of lymph tissue in the back of the throat.
- Digestive Tract—this includes the stomach and intestines.
What is the prognosis?
Prognosis varies based on multiple factors. This includes the stage of the lymphoma, where the cancer is located, and the age of the patient. Overall, 70% of those diagnosed with NHL survive 5 years or more after diagnosis, while 60% survive at least 10 years or more.
What are my treatment options?
Options depend on the type and extent of NHL. Most treatment options include:
- Chemotherapy: Anti-Cancer drugs that are injected by IV or taken by mouth
- Immunotherapy: A treatment that boosts your own immune system to kill or slow down the NHL cells
- Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy includes the use of drugs that have been developed to target the changes that lymphoma cells go through to help them grow. These drugs sometimes work when typical chemo does not. These drugs could include: Proteasome inhibitors, histone deacetylase inhibitors, or kinase inhibitors
- Radiation therapy: Uses high energy rays to kill the cancerous cells
- Stem cell transplant: Stem cell transplants allow doctors to increase doses of chemo
- Surgery: Mainly used to get a biopsy sample to diagnose NHL, rarely is it used as a form of treatment
- Know your legal rights
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with NHL after exposure to glyphosate, contact 1-800-LAW-FIRM today. We have over thirty years of experience and can help you through the legal process. All calls are free and confidential.