World Lymphoma Day
World Lymphoma Awareness Day is a global event conducted every year on 15th to raise awareness about lymphoma. It was initiated by the International Lymphoma Coalition, a non-profit network organization, formed 10 years ago. Lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer, yet a lot of people do not know much about it.
What is Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a type of cancer which affects the immune system. It is cancer of the immune cells called the lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells found in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow and other parts of the body. Lymphoma can occur at any age, but is more common among the younger generation. It is treatable if diagnosed early. There are mainly two types of lymphoma – non-Hodgkin lymphoma (more common) and Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphomas each affect a different kind of lymphocyte.
Lymphoma is the most common blood cancer diagnosed in adults and the third most common cancer diagnosed in children. While the exact cause of lymphoma remains unknown, non-Hodgkins lymphoma occurs much more frequently in HIV-infected people than in the general population. Over 62,000 people are diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma every year. Of these, 60% are male and 40% are female. Approximately 25,000 people die every year from this disease. Lymphoma cannot be prevented, but survival rates after timely treatment are good.
- Swollen glands (lymph nodes), often in the neck, armpit, abdomen or groin – most common symptom
- Continuous cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating at night
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Enlarged tonsils
Many of the symptoms of lymphoma are non-specific and similar to those of other diseases and conditions, especially flu or a viral infection. However, these symptoms do not necessarily indicate lymphoma. But persistent symptoms must not be ignored. An early diagnosis is the best chance of treating it properly. The treatments modalities for lymphoma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplants. The surgeon selects the treatment based on the type of lymphoma, the areas affected and the patient’s overall health.