Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Honoring the Warriors this World Lymphoma Awareness Day

“Lymphoma exists. For someone who was diagnosed with Lymphoma and know nothing about the disease if people knew more about this cancer that can actually affect even the younger ones, maybe we could have been more aware of our health (and) the symptoms that Lymphoma can do to our body.” ~Jeanne, a Lymphoma Cancer Survivor

Lymphoma Philippines, a non-profit organization for Lymphoma patients, survivors, and caregivers aiming to spread awareness on medically-approved Lymphoma-related campaigns in the country.

If the pandemic has taught the world anything, it is how important it is to value the gift of good health and live a free life. The fear of getting sick is now even more understandable because it has put everything into perspective. The world was indeed scared by the truth of COVID-19, but cancer fighters and survivors have actually experienced this reality for a much longer period of time.

On this year's World Lymphoma Awareness Day, the neighborhood joins together to celebrate cancer survivors, fighters, and their families while also raising awareness of the disease.

Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the immune system’s infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other areas of the body contain these cells, and Lymphoma leads lymphocytes to change and increase out of control. Common symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, chills, weight loss, fatigue– all of which are more likely to be caused by other conditions, such as an infection, which is why getting checked by a doctor is important for proper diagnosis.

It is one of the top 15 cancers in the Philippines, affecting around 11,000 Filipinos every year. Yet with lack of awareness, authorities estimate a larger number of patients that are left undiagnosed.

Infection-fighting lymphocytes of the immune system are where lymphoma, a type of cancer, first appears. These cells are found in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other parts of the body. Lymphoma causes lymphocytes to change and multiply uncontrollably. Common symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, chills, weight loss, and fatigue. Since these symptoms are more likely to be brought on by other conditions, such as an infection, a doctor's examination is crucial for a correct diagnosis.

It ranks among the top 15 malignancies in the Philippines, where it affects over 11,000 Filipinos annually. Authorities think that a greater proportion of cases go undiagnosed due to ignorance, nevertheless.

In order to raise awareness of medically-approved Lymphoma-related campaigns in the nation, Lymphoma Philippines, a non-profit organization for Lymphoma patients, survivors, and carers, has as its objective. In order to educate more people and offer desperately needed assistance to those in need, including pushing for improved healthcare, cancer survivor Jheric Delos Angeles and his wife Anna Tapel-Delos Angeles founded a network of Filipino patients and their families.

“It’s very hard. The agony is double. During the pandemic, going to the hospital was difficult and scary for cancer patients like me. As it is, we cannot afford to get COVID.” ~Rhiz, a Lymphoma cancer patient, shares her experience living with the disease amidst the pandemic

Christine, a Lymphoma patient caregiver, echoes Rhiz’s sentiments regarding hospital visits. On top of that, their income was cut off for a time during the lockdown and they had to rely on their savings to continue medication.

While Lymphoma is considered to be a curable cancer if diagnosed early, access to treatment is a challenge as costs related to the disease can range from one million pesos to three and a half million pesos depending on the hospital and treatment protocol.

Recognizing these challenges, Lymphoma Philippines hopes to continue spreading information and possibly save lives. As part of its efforts, the organization along with The Carewell Community Foundation, EPCALM, KAYA, and The Philippine Cancer Society, also in partnership with Takeda Healthcare Philippines, held a public online event to mark the World Lymphoma Awareness Day, and shared practical information beneficial to Filipino Lymphoma patients and their families. This includes:
  • Mental wellness advice for patients and their loved ones
  • A private Facebook group for patients and their loved ones where they can get information and support from each other
  • Patient navigation that helps patients in their journey from diagnosis to post-treatment and connects them with the right agencies and groups
  • Emotional support groups in partnership with Kanser sa Adolescents and Young Adults (KAYA) and The Carewell Community Foundation
  • Social work services that can assist patients in their journey

“It is an unimaginably difficult journey for patients and their loved ones living with cancer. Having gone through it myself, a strong support system is crucial in the journey and we at Lymphoma Philippines are committed to lending help however possible.” ~Jheric Delos Angeles, Lymphoma Philippines co-founder

For more information, you may visit Lymphoma Philippines on Facebook (facebook.com/LymphomaPH) or its website at lymphomaphilippines.com.

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