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Today on World Lymphoma Awareness Day the staff of wards 8 East and North at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane dressed in lime to raise awareness of lymphoma symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Nurse Unit Manager Haematology and Oncology Marissa Alvisio said there is a new diagnosis of Lymphoma in Australia every two hours with a life lost every six hours.
“Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system where tumours develop due to uncontrolled growth of abnormal lymphocytes. Lymphoma can be an aggressive form of cancer as the lymphatic system can carry tumours around the body,” Marissa said.
“There are two main categories of lymphoma, Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). The difference is the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells which appear in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma accounting for 90 per cent of lymphomas diagnosed.
“Some signs to be aware of are swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, itching and a persistent cough or shortness of breath. There can be many normal explanations for such symptoms but it’s always best to discuss with a GP if you are concerned.”
To better understand and treat blood cancers like lymphoma Mater Research Executive Director Professor Maher Gandhi is heading up a diagnostic working group named the Blood Cancer Taskforce.
“The Taskforce’s aim is to create equal and equitable access to blood cancer treatment and support. It sets out the priority areas, objectives and actions for addressing the challenges of blood cancer to achieve the vision of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035,” Professor Gandhi said.
“The diagnostic working group will support the National Action Plan by helping those afflicted with blood cancers to have better lives and improved outcomes in the coming decades. We want to help research and end blood cancers. It’s time to break the barriers and give a voice to these silent diseases.”
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