Today is World Lymphoma Awareness Day

Welcome to World Lymphoma Awareness Day 2013!

For some time now, the word "lymphoma" has only explained a cancer of lymphocytes - those white blood cells that carry out the work of our immune system.

Beyond that, every subtype of lymphoma is regarded as a heterogenous disease. This means that diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is similar to mantle cell lymphoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma in name and general anatomical locale, but otherwise they are fully independent diseases from one another, requiring different treatment approaches and having different outcomes. Check out The World Health Organization's system of classifying lymphoma types.

Lymphoma Incidence

According to the U.S. government's SEER statistics, this year in the United States, an estimated 79,000 people will be diagnosed with one of the several dozen subtypes of Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Most epidemiologists agree that the incidence of lymphoma is on the rise, although there are no concrete answers as to why.

An estimated breakdown by age at diagnosis is as follows:

  • Under age 20: 2,449 diagnoses
  • Age 20 to 34: 5,688 diagnoses
  • Age 35 to 44: 5,846 diagnoses
  • Age 45 to 54: 10,586 diagnoses
  • Age 55 to 64: 15,168 diagnoses
  • Age 65 to 74: 16,590 diagnoses
  • Age 75 to 84: 16,195 diagnoses
  • Over age 85: 6,557 diagnoses

Despite phenomenal treatment breakthroughs since the late 1960s, as many as 20,000 people will die from the disease this year. Lymphoma strikes our furry loved ones too, including both cats and dogs.

Surviving Lymphoma

The overall five year relative survival rate for lymphoma is 71.3 percent. What this means: Take 1000 people diagnosed with lymphoma today and 1000 people not diagnosed with lymphoma. In five years, assume that all 1000 not diagnosed with lymphoma are alive; meanwhile, 713 of those with lymphoma are expected to still be alive.

Being alive and cancer-free five years following diagnosis in the world of cancer is generally considered the equivalent of having been cured or having beaten the disease.

Those numbers are spectacular compared to pancreatic cancer, with a five-year overall survival rate of just six percent. But that's no reason for researchers, health care professionals or charity workers to rest on their laurels, and they certainly are doing no such thing. For instance, ClinicalTrials.gov lists over 4,000 lymphoma-related clinical trials.

Lymphoma Charitable Organizations

Charitable organizations dedicated to lymphoma do so much every day towards finding cures and helping those patients who need assistence; their work is invaluable and worthy of our support. Charity Navigator rates three lymphoma charities:

They have also listed 23 unrated lymphoma charities.

Lymphoma Prevention

Unfortunately there is no way to prevent lymphoma, chiefly because there is no way to know how lymphoma developed in the first place. One must know the cause in order to determine a method of prevention. However, that doesn't mean the topic is entirely empty. Here at the Lymphoma Information Network this year, we explored lymphoma prevention from five angles:

Lymphoma Treatment

Because there are so many different subtypes of lymphoma, there are several different approaches to treatment depending on the diagnosis and stage of the disease.

Treatment may include:

Lymphoma Symptoms

Perhaps there is nothing more important to learn from World Lymphoma Awareness Day than the symptoms that are associated with this disease. The sooner it is detected, the better the odds of successful treatment and cure of lymphoma.

Read about lymphoma's many subtle symptoms here, and don't try to self-diagnose or diagnose a friend or loved one. Leave that to the qualified health professionals, and give yourself an even greater chance of overcoming this disease.

Lymphoma incidence may be on the rise, but so too are lymphoma cure rates. Together - through education and awareness as well as contributions in various forms to charitable research and outreach organizations - we can beat lymphoma.

Check out World Lymphoma Awareness Day in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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