Lymphoma: The Facts

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, so I’m back this week with a serious issue that deserves recognition: lymphoma. Cancer, whatever form it may be, is always a serious issue that needs attention, and that’s what I aim to do in this post.

I decided to discuss lymphoma because I have a cousin, Lexi, who was diagnosed. She is such a bright, energetic spirit who is fighting this with everything she has. My love for her is the fuel behind the composition of this post.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that effects the body’s lymphatic system, which is a part of the immune system. It is still virtually unknown what exactly causes this type of cancer, but research is actively being done in order to further understand the disease.

This cancer comes in two forms: Hodgkin or Non-Hodgkin.

Hodgkin Disease, which is the type of cancer my cousin had, starts in the white blood cells. This type mostly occurs in younger people(ages 15-40) but older adults(ages 55 and up) can still be diagnosed with it.

Lexi also informed me that there is a type A and type B form of Hodgkin Disease. Type A is easier to diagnose because symptoms are apparent in the individual, but type B, which is what she had, wasn’t so easy. Type B has no symptoms, she was required to undergo a number of tests in order to get a diagnosis.

Non-Hodgkin is one of the most common cancers in the US. The chance of an adult being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is 1 in 50. Usually this type is more common in certain childhood cancers, 95% of the cases occur with adults.

In talking with her doctors, Lexi and her mother learned that it is possible for people to have both Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma at the same time, but it is quite rare.

In talking with Lexi, I realized that the key to beating cancer is all in the attitude. Although she was diagnosed at 20 years old and dealt with doctors who told her that she wouldn’t survive, she never lost her faith and kept going. If you know Lexi, you understand that she simply cannot be depressed! Not once has she ever been depressed; she’s constantly cracking jokes and reminding people that no matter what, God is working in her life and He will see her through. She gives credit to the support of family, her best friend, and the staff at Mercy Hospital for keeping her pumped through the whole process. She made sure that no one ever sympathized with her; you never would have known that she was sick.

I am proud to say that Lexi has beaten the cancer and is currently in remission. And that’s the other thing about her form of cancer: there is a low return rate, so it is highly unlikely that this could return again.

If you’d like more information or would like to donate or volunteer for the cause, go to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website.

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