Lymphoma specifically, and cancer generally, is a moving target—our understanding of this disease is constantly evolving.
Lymphoma Facts: Incidence
So how many people will develop lymphoma? Epidemiological studies allow for estimates to be published by the National Cancer Institute, and these suggest that about 74,000 people in the United States will develop some form of lymphoma in a single year, with men being diagnosed slightly more frequently than women.
Lymphoma Facts: Mortality
While many forms of lymphoma are treatable, others do not respond well to treatment and unfortunately, lymphoma facts show approximately 21,000 people will succumb to the disease annually.
Lymphoma Facts: Survival Rates
Lymphoma is one of the more treatable and sometimes even curable cancers known to modern medicine, and this is reflected in the 5 year relative survival percentages of lymphomas almost regardless of the stage at diagnosis:
- -- Localized disease: 81.9%
- -- Regional disease: 76.7%
- -- Metastatic disease: 60.2%
- -- Stage unknown: 65.8%
A sixty percent 5 year relative survival percentage, in cancer terms, means that at least sixty percent of patients diagnosed with stage IV lymphoma can look forward to a successful treatment. This doesn't mean the treatment will be easy—not at all—but the odds are good that it will be successful.
Lymphoma Facts: Subtypes
As a cancer, lymphoma is very confusing because so much is being learned about the disease every day. Lymphomas are first divided into Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's categories. There are six subtypes of Hodgkin's lymphoma, but non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are far more varied and far more confusing. Currently we recognize about 40 category subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, but in reality these categories are growing all the time, and since each subtype of lymphoma is considered to be an entirely different and independent disease than every other subtype, the lymphoma world can suddenly go from confusing to outright ridiculous.
However, what appears to be true in lymphomas may also turn out to be true across all cancers: namely, that the old anatomy-based way of designating cancer types (by organ or region) may be faulty, and that the best way to find treatment pathways and help people beat their cancer will be through determining the molecular characteristics and chromosomal translocations of the cancer cell itself, and not where it develops in the body.
- National Cancer Institute SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Lymphoma