Area Boy Battles Cancer

By: Matt Zahn
By: Matt Zahn

Josh Svejda somehow keeps a smile on his face despite having Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer that severely weakens his immune system.

That means Josh is in the hospital on average about half of every month battle various ailments that most of us could shake off in a couple days.

A cold for Josh, is no ordinary cold. At one point, he spent 73 straight days at St. Joe's hospital.

Somehow, through it all, Josh has kept a positive outlook on life. He still takes care of his two horses that he loves dearly. And after he graduates from Spencer High School, he hopes to attend college to become a veterinarian.

Josh is doing pretty well right now. He's got about 11 months of chemotherapy remaining, before they can hopefully rid his body of cancer. Extended Web Coverage

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are a type of cancer of the lymphatic system.

  • There are about 20 different types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Each type has:
    • A particular appearance when looked at under the microscope.

    • Specific types of proteins on the surface of the cells.

    • A particular rate of growth.

    • Its own specific treatments.

  • Different types of NHL affect the body in different ways. Here are the main types"
      B-cell lymphomas
    • Precursor B lymphoblastic
    • Small lymphocytic
    • B-cell prolymphocytic
    • Lymphoplasmacytic
    • Splenic marginal zone
    • Extranodal marginal zone - MALT
    • Nodal marginal zone
    • Follicular
    • Mantle cell
    • Diffuse large B-cell
    • Primary mediastinal large B-cell
    • Primary effusion
    • Burkitt's

      T-cell lymphomas

    • Precursor (peripheral) T-cell lymphoblastic
    • Adult T-cell
    • Extranodal Natural Killer/T-cell, nasal type
    • Enteropathy type T-cell
    • Hepatosplenic T-cell
    • Subcutaneous panniculitis like T-cell
    • Skin (cutaneous) lymphomas- including Mycosis fungoides/ Sézary syndrome
    • Anaplastic large cell
    • Peripheral T-cell, not otherwise specified
    • Angioimmunoblastic T-cell


    • AIDS related
    • Central nercous system lymphoma


  • Like most types of cancer the cause of most non-Hodgkin's lymphomas is unknown.

  • It is known that lymphomas are more likely to develop in people who have taken drugs to prevent rejection following an organ transplant or whose immunity has been reduced, for example in people with HIV or AIDS.

  • It is thought that lymphomas are not caused by genetic changes that can be passed down through families, so they are not inherited.


  • Often, the first sign of a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a painless swelling of a lymph node in the neck, armpit or groin.

  • Other symptoms may include any of the following:
    • Night sweats or unexplained high temperatures (fever).

    • Loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss and excessive tiredness.

    • Children may develop a cough or breathlessness. They may also complain of abdominal pain or you may notice a lump in your child's abdomen.

    • Persistent itching of the skin all over the body.

  • If you or your child has any of the above symptoms you must have them checked by your doctor. However, they are common to many conditions other than non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and most people with these symptoms will not have a lymphoma.

Source: (The Cancerbacup Web site) contributed to this report.