(BPT) - Have you been recently been diagnosed with lymphoma? Finding out you have lymphoma means you have a certain form of blood cancer. But what form of blood cancer specifically? Learning your lymphoma subtype plays a key role in the treatment your physician will recommend for you and how the cancer is managed.1
In a 2016 global patient survey conducted by the Lymphoma Coalition that polled over 4,000 lymphoma patients around the world, over 25 percent of respondents indicated that they were unaware of their lymphoma subtype.2 And, for those who do know, only 57 percent felt they understood what their subtype actually means.2 This led to the Lymphoma Coalition launching the "Know Your Subtype" campaign, which advocates for better communication between physicians and patients and raises awareness of the lack of knowledge patients have on this essential subject. The campaign also addresses the need for more accurate tracking and reporting of lymphoma subtypes in the healthcare system.
Due to recent advances in scientific knowledge, healthcare providers recognize that lymphoma is not a cancer itself, but rather a collection of related cancers.1 Some common subtypes include:
* Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
* Follicular lymphoma (FL)
* Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
* Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL)
* Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL)
'Sometimes, patients are told that they have been diagnosed with lymphoma,' said Laurie H. Sehn, M.D., MPH, Chair, Lymphoma Tumour Group, BC Cancer Agency Centre for Lymphoid Cancer and Chair, Lymphoma Coalition Medical Advisory Board. 'In reality, lymphoma is not one thing. It is a diverse group of blood cancers. We cannot treat lymphoma as a whole; rather we must select treatment based on each specific subtype. That's why it is so important for physicians to take the time to properly assess and inform patients of their subtype at the time of their diagnosis.'
Through the advancements in science, healthcare providers are now able to learn intricate details about subtypes.1 In addition to the standard biopsy test performed to initially detect lymphoma, genetic and molecular tests are commonly done to determine a lymphoma subtype.1 With the availability of this information, physicians and your healthcare team (e.g., oncology nurse, social worker and pharmacist) are resources for asking questions and obtaining thorough information about your subtype.
'At the Lymphoma Coalition, we seek to empower patients to take charge of their diagnosis and educate themselves on all of the options available,' said Karen Van Rassel, Chief Executive Officer of the Lymphoma Coalition. 'When a patient knows their subtype, it enables a more realistic dialogue between the patient and healthcare provider about the next steps in developing a suitable treatment regimen.'
Given the significant benefit of understanding subtypes in lymphoma, Celgene Corporation supports the Know Your Subtype campaign and efforts to empower and educate patients living with lymphoma.
To learn more about lymphoma subtypes, visit the Lymphoma Coalition website at www.lymphomacoalition.org. The Lymphoma Coalition will host its annual recognition, World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD), on September 15th. Use this day as a reminder to speak with your physician about your subtype. Follow the Lymphoma Coalition @knowyournodes and use the Facebook and Twitter hashtags, #WLAD and #EverythingChanges, to obtain real-time information on WLAD.
1. Lymphoma Research Foundation. Learning About Lymphoma. Available at http://www.lymphoma.org/site/pp.asp?c=bkLTKaOQLmK8E&b=6292457. Accessed on September 13, 2017.
2. Lymphoma Coalition. 2016 Global Patient Survey. Available at http://www.lymphomacoalition.org/media/com_acymailing/upload/2016_global_patient_survey_report.pdf. Accessed on September 6, 2017.