World Lymphoma Awareness Day
Raising Hope For Lymphoma Patients
World lymphoma awareness day is celebrated on 15th of September every year. The lymphatic system is an essential body part. The body's germ-fighting network includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, bone marrow, and other body parts. Cancer of the lymphatic system is called lymphoma. Lymphoma occurs in the cells called lymphocytes. The lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight diseases and plays an essential role in the body's immune system.
History Of World Lymphoma Awareness Day
World lymphoma awareness day, observed annually on September 15th, was established to raise global awareness about lymphoma, a diverse group of blood cancers affecting the lymphatic system. The day originated as an initiative by the Lymphoma Coalition, a network of lymphoma patient advocacy organizations worldwide in 2004, to educate the public about the disease's various subtypes, symptoms, treatment options, and the importance of early detection. Since its inception, world lymphoma awareness day has grown significantly, helping to shed light on lymphoma's impact, foster support for patients and their families, promote ongoing research, and ultimately improve outcomes for those affected by this challenging and often misunderstood cancer. This year 2023, the World Lymphoma Awareness Day theme is "We Can't Wait to Focus on Our Feelings.". The theme focuses on the psychological and emotional challenges the patients could go through.
There are two major types of lymphoma. They are
- Hodgkin's lymphoma: A malignancy that affects the lymphatic system, a component of the body's immune system that fights infection, is called Hodgkin's lymphoma. White blood cells known as lymphocytes overgrow in Hodgkin's lymphoma, resulting in enlarged lymph nodes and growths all over the body.
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: Malignant (cancer) cells develop in the lymphatic system as a result of the illness known as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Both passive and aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas are possible. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk factors include becoming older, being a man, and having a compromised immune system.
Lymphoma, or lymphatic system cancer, makes up nearly half of all blood cancers that develop each year, and Hodgkin lymphoma affects roughly 12% of those who have lymphoma.
Symptoms Of Lymphoma
Following are the symptoms of lymphoma
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, neck, and groin that are usually painless
- Cough and shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Loss of weight
Risk Factor Of Lymphoma
The exact causes of lymphoma are unknown. However, various risk factors are associated with the chances of developing lymphoma. These risk factors include
- Old age
- Family history of lymphoma
- Exposure to chemicals like benzene
- Previous cancer treatment for lymphoma
- Exposure to radiation treatment for cancer
- Weakened immune system due to organ transplant or HIV infection
- Weak immunity due to an immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, or lupus disease.
- Having infections like hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr, or human T-cell Leukemia/lymphoma (HTLV-1)
Diagnosis Of Lymphoma
- Physical examination
- Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy
- Blood tests
- Molecular test
- Imaging tests (like MRI scan, PET scan, X-rays)
Treatment For Lymphoma
Depending upon the type and stage of cancer, your doctor will choose the best treatment option for you. The various treatment options available for treating lymphoma include
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Stem cell transplantation (autologous transplantation of allogeneic transplantation)
Diet During Lymphoma Treatment
The dietary instructions for lymphoma patients are similar to that of healthy people. Diet cannot cure lymphoma. However, it can help ease the symptoms, cope with treatment-related side effects, and improve healing.
What To Eat During And After Lymphoma Treatment
- Antioxidants are essential and must be included in the diet as they combat free radicals and help prevent cancer. Examples of antioxidants that can be taken in the daily diet include carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, oranges, avocado, lemons, bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and sunflower seeds.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, collards, kale, and cabbage are good examples of cruciferous vegetables that can be included in the daily diet.
- Lean proteins: Beans, peas, lentils, greek yogurt, lean beef, and low-fat cottage cheese are some examples of foods that are good options for lean proteins.
- Whole grains: Pasta, oats, brown rice, whole wheat, and quinoa can be taken in the daily diet.
- Fluids: Water is the most important fluid and is a basic necessity. Drinking plenty of water is essential to stay hydrated to combat treatment-related side effects like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Sugary drinks and alcohol must be avoided during cancer treatment.
The Final Note
This world lymphoma awareness day 2023, spread the word among your family and friends about lymphoma, its risk factors, and symptoms. Raise awareness about the importance of recognizing symptoms of lymphoma, as this cancer is treatable when detected early. Ensure to educate people about the importance of early detection and encourage them to get tested when they notice the symptoms. Also, spread awareness about healthy eating habits and regular exercise, as lifestyle plays a significant role in cancer development and treatment.