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Roundup has been associated with follicular lymphoma

Glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, is the most widely used chemical in weed-killing formulations all over the world.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared it a "probable carcinogen," and classified it as a Group 2A substance.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma affects the B-cell variety of lymphocytes, which fight infection.

When their DNA suffers sufficient damage, lymphocytes stop fulfilling their normal biological function and will hinder the activity of healthy cells by multiplying uncontrollably.

NHL usually spreads to the bone marrow and the lymph nodes, where it forms tumors, but in certain severe cases, more organs can be affected.

The least aggressive form of NHL can still be a serious threat

Follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (FL) is one of the most common forms of lymphocyte cancer, making up around 20-30% of all cases diagnosed in the United States. This is also the least aggressive form of the disease; it rarely progresses to areas other than the lymph nodes and bone marrow, and its symptoms can be kept in check through treatment.

Although the life expectancy for those diagnosed with FL is generally good - going into the decades - this disease is rarely curable, which makes the cost of managing symptoms and staving off progression a real financial burden.

There is also the risk of FL "transforming" into a far more aggressive form of the disease, large B-cell lymphoma, which happens in 30-40% of cases.

Follicular lymphoma can be hard to pinpoint from its initial symptoms

In the early stages, FL shares the same symptoms with most forms of cancer, as well as other disorders that affect the body's general well-being -- like liver or kidney disease. You might want to see a doctor if you experience:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A constant state of fatigue, or fast onset of fatigue after light physical labor
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Susceptibility to bruising, even from light injuries

The most tell-tale sign of FL are painless, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, stomach, and groin. These are most commonly interpreted by doctors as signs of an infection in the body, so it is likely that you will be first put through a regime of antibiotics before your clinician will start suspecting FL as the primary cause.

Other signs of FL that can be detected by medical professionals upon the first consultation include an enlarged spleen and accumulation of fluid in certain areas of the body, generally the abdomen.

Your personal history is also a very important factor in narrowing down the possibilities, as well as blood tests and imaging scans, but a biopsy of the nodules is generally required to establish a final diagnosis.

What are the causes of FL, and how do herbicides come into play?

Scientists aren't yet certain of the mechanism by which FL forms in the body, although there are a number of hypotheses. A non-heritable mutation has been found in 85% of the people suffering from FL that involves the overexpression of a gene called BCL-2. This is believed to play a major role in the likeliness of developing the disease.

Environmental factors have been suggested, including certain infectious diseases, exposure to radiation, or chemicals like benzene and pesticides containing glyphosate. Both lab studies conducted on animals and surveys of people who work with herbicides suggest a connection between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and there are serious reasons to believe that weed-killing formulations might be more dangerous than the active ingredient alone.

Some attribute this increased toxicity to the role played by the surfactants used in products like Roundup or Aquamaster, which would help glyphosate permeate the skin, enter the bloodstream, and damage blood cells.

This would explain why home operators, who tend to get close to the pesticide spray, can be most at risk for developing NHL.

These occupations include:

  • farmworkers
  • garden center employees
  • nursery employees
  • landscapers
  • groundskeepers
  • professional gardeners

Those injured as a result of occupational exposure are eligible for compensation

Herbicide manufacturers tried to downplay the hazardous potential of their products.

If you or a loved one developed any form of NHL after being exposed to glyphosate as part of your work, you might be entitled to receive compensation from those who put you at risk. Call us today free of charge, we'll take a look at your particular situation and let you know if you qualify for compensation.