A primary central nervous system lymphoma is a type of cancer originating from immune cells called lymphocytes that develops in the brain and/or spinal cord. Older individuals and those with an impaired body immune system, specifically those living with HIV/AIDS, are at an increased risk of developing a primary CNS lymphoma. PCNSL is an AIDS-defining ailment, implying that a HIV-positive individual with a PCNSL will be considered to have AIDS. The symptoms of PCNSL resemble those of other brain tumors and can include arm and leg weakness, behavioral and cognitive changes, brain swelling, language deficits, and vision changes. The potential symptoms of primary CNS lymphoma are varied and mainly depend on the physiological location of the tumor. Seizures can occur and are more common in patients with AIDS-related PCNSL. Other frameworks that can be compromised by a primary CNS lymphoma include the treatments of the brain and the cranial and peripheral nerves. The latter can lead to nerve pain and deficiencies specific to the function of the cranial nerve affected. As primary CNS lymphomas are malignant tumors, they can spread out to other sites of the body. Eye involvement is present in 20 to 40% of patients at discussion and in mostly all patients later in the course of the disease. Those symptoms are called constitutional or B symptoms and exist in most patients with AIDS-related PCNSL even in the absence of systemic spread. Primary CNS lymphoma most commonly takes place in people around age 60, yet uncommon cases have additionally been described in children. With correct therapy, primary CNS lymphoma regresses in around 85% of patients.
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