Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Lymphatic System Definition

Lymphatic System: The lymphatic system is a type of circulatory system that runs throughout the body. A vast network of tubes that are connected to body organs and tissues, the lymphatics carry a clear fluid called lymph. The lymph carries white blood cells, making it a crucial component of the immune system. A map of the lymphatics resembles a busy subway system, with the tubes, the tracks, and the lymph glands or nodes (filters that catch viruses, bacteria, and other invaders so that white blood cells can destroy and dispose of them), the stations. Because the lymphatics reach nearly every organ, cancers that occur in the lymph cells – lymphomas – are by definition systemic cancers. Other types of cancer may also use the lymph system as a means to metastasize. For this reason, lymph nodes are often aspirated or biopsied during cancer diagnosis, to check for spread.

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