What is Castleman Disease?

Castleman disease is a rare illness in which too many cells grow in the lymph nodes, part of the immune system. It’s like having an overgrown garden, but cells are growing too much instead of plants.

Are There Different Types of Castleman Disease?

Yes, there are two main kinds. The first kind, unicentric, affects just one lymph node and often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms. The second kind, multicentric, affects multiple lymph nodes and can make you feel quite unwell with symptoms like fever, fatigue, and weight loss.

What Causes Castleman Disease?

Doctors aren’t sure, but an overproduction of a specific protein (interleukin-6) that fights infection might be a culprit. Also, the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) virus is linked to many cases, especially in people with weaker immune systems.

What Symptoms Might I Notice?

You might not notice anything or feel a lump with unicentric Castleman disease. With multicentric Castleman disease, you might experience fever, night sweats, tiredness, and weight loss without trying.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Castleman Disease?

Diagnosis usually involves imaging tests, such as CT scans to visualize the lymph nodes, and a biopsy, in which a small piece of a lymph node is examined under a microscope.

What Treatments Are Available?

Treatment depends on the type of Castleman disease. If it’s unicentric, removing the affected lymph node can often cure it. If it’s multicentric, treatment might include medications to boost the immune system, steroids, chemotherapy, or antiviral drugs for the HHV-8 virus.

Is Castleman Disease Serious?

It can be, especially the multicentric type, which is why getting treatment is important. Doctors are always researching better ways to understand and treat the Castleman disease.

Want to know about other rare diseases?

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