Did you know that approximately every three minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer? It’s not a fun reality, but a reality nonetheless. Some types of blood cancer develop over time. One type of slow-growing blood cancer is follicular lymphoma – an estimated 114,000 people are living with this disease in the U.S. Sadly, follicular lymphoma is incurable and many people relapse after treatment, so they may require additional treatment.
Fear not, because there are ways that people can arm themselves with the facts about blood cancers and become more aware of their options. September was designated as Blood Cancer Awareness Month, in an effort to increase the dialogue nationwide. For people living with a type of blood cancer, such as follicular lymphoma, organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Lymphoma Research Foundation provide educational support, resources and community events for people across the nation.
Dr. Stephanie Gregory is a hematologist and medical oncologist who has helped people understand the importance of blood cancer types and options. “I Really would like people to become aware of the fact that blood cancers are not rare. There are about a million patients living with blood cancers. The most common forms are the lymphomas, and there are sixty different types” Dr. Gregory said.
“I think we need to have people know that if they have a lymphoma, they need to make sure their doctors tell them exactly what kind of lymphoma they have. Very important, because some are curable, some are not curable but you can live for many years with them,” Dr. Gregory says. It’s important that people understand the risks and importance of this disease, and learn how best to treat and cope with this issue early on. “Not all lymphomas are treated the same, and not all need to be treated,” Dr. Gregory says.
To plan for this and make sure you are safe, there are lots of options out there for people to consider. However, as much as this is a physical battle, it is also a very mental battle as well. There are things that people have to overcome in their heads to really begin to heal and begin to live their lives once again. It’s not an easy process by any means, and Rome wasn’t built in a day, but by learning more about this terrible disease, maybe we can be one step closer to overcoming it together.
Feature Image: Mate Marschalko