Castle man disease is a disorder and not cancer. It is a disease of lymph nodes or lymph gland (it is a bean shaped organ of the lymphatic system) are present throughout the body. Lymph nodes are essential for the uninterrupted functioning of the immune system, because they filter the harmful cells and also cancer causing cells of the body. Castle man disease attacks the lymph nodes, when too many cells start growing in this organ.
There are two types of castle man disease
- Unicentric CD
- Multicentre CD
Unicentric Castle Man Disease (UCD) - This condition pertains to a single set of lymph nodes and affects the related tissues. There is no evidence why unicentric disease is caused, but according to the research when the immune system produces excess interlukin-6 (IL-6), there is high risk of excess cell growth of lymphatic cells that results is CD. Unicentric disease does not show any specific symptoms, it just starts as an enlarged lymph node. Based on the region, in which this enlarged node has grown, some people may have symptoms like a feeling of pressure in the region of chest or abdomen, or difficulty in eating, sometimes unexplained weight loss.
Unicentric castle man disease (UCD) can be cured by removing the enlarged node by surgery, or shrinking the node or by damaging the affected tissue.
Multicentric Castle Man Disease (MCD) - MCD affects in more than one part of lymph nodes. This disease is associated with infection caused by virus (HHV-8) human herpes virus. This disease is rare, but fatal. MCD affects the immune system deeply, making it incapable of resisting infections when they attack the body. This disease occurs in people with low immunity or people or people suffering from human immune deficiency virus (HIV).
MCD is a dreadful diseases making people sensitive to cancer of lymphoid tissue.
Some of the symptoms of MCD are night sweats, weakness, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and enlarged liver/ spleen.
It is very difficult to treat this disease. Mainly treatments done are biopsy of affected lymph mode, shrinking tumours or removing enlarged spleen that is causing symptoms. Since MCD spreads throughout the body, doctors usually use treatments such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy, or corticosteroids that can target all the affected parts of the body. If the patients is not responding to these treatments the doctor might suggest strong chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transport.
Who is at Risk?
People who have HIV or AIDs are higher risk for castle man disease either in unicentric CD or multicentric CD
Diagnosing castle man disease
Castle man disease is difficult to detect until you take an imaging test for some other disease or illness as part of treatment and the doctor may discover the symptoms of CD.And the doctor may order for the following test.
- Blood test and urine test- to evaluate the castle man disease
- CT scan or MRI scan- These imaging test will reveal the seriousness of enlarged lymph nodes in all parts of the body like upper region neck, chest and lower region like abdomen and pelvis region. these scans will also give a clear view, of liver and spleen ( if they are enlarged or not )
- Biopsy- This test involves taking a sample of tissue of the affected node for testing
The only way to protect yourself from this dangerous disease is to take regular check-ups for HIV or AID. Infected person should take proper treatment.