World Lymphoma Awareness Day: Empowering Lives Through Knowledge and Care
World Lymphoma Awareness Day provides us an opportunity to focus on a condition that often goes under the radar—Lymphoma. Its symptoms can be subtle, leading to late-stage diagnoses that complicate treatment. As a health organization committed to comprehensive and compassionate care, Indus Hospital & Health Network (IHHN) plays a pivotal role in battling this elusive enemy, especially among our youngest patients.
The Two Faces of Lymphoma
Lymphoma occurs in two primary forms:
Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL): This is a kind of lymphoma that usually spreads in an organized way, moving from one set of lymph nodes to the next closest one. If you have this type, you might first notice swollen glands in your neck or armpits. This type is known for its predictable behavior, so doctors often have a clear treatment plan for it.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL): This is actually a whole group of different blood cancers that can behave in various ways. Some grow very slowly and might not cause symptoms for a long time, while others grow quickly and make you feel sick more suddenly. Depending on the type, you might experience a range of symptoms, from fatigue and weight loss to more severe issues like breathing problems or abdominal pain.
Both types can be serious but have different treatment approaches and outcomes, which is why it’s crucial to know which type you have.
Symptoms in Children
Children suffering from lymphoma may exhibit a variety of symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sudden weight loss
- Constant fever
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and lethargy
How Does Lymphoma Affect Children?
Lymphoma is the third most common cancer among children, accounting for about 12% of all pediatric cancers. Adolescents aged 15 to 19 are more likely to have Hodgkin Lymphoma, whereas non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is more prevalent among younger children. In Pakistan as well, lymphomas and leukemias constituted the main bulk of childhood malignant tumors. In children, as per Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center’s cancer registry (1994-2010), NHL stands at number three after acute lymphoblastic leukemia and Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Indus Hospital & Health Network’s Approach
IHHN operates one of the most extensive pediatric oncology programs, with a special focus on lymphomas. Our care doesn’t stop at medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation; we adopt a holistic approach that includes educational support for children and their families, as well as psychosocial care to cope with the emotional toll of the disease.
Holistic Child-Centric Care
We recognize that combating cancer is a multidimensional challenge. Medical studies indicate that strong mental and emotional well-being can actually improve treatment outcomes; for instance, a report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that emotional and social support can extend the lives of cancer patients by as much as 50%. That’s why our approach at Indus Hospital & Health Network goes beyond just treating the physical symptoms.
Our Indus K Sitaray Program ensures that children continue their education during treatment, which helps maintain a sense of normalcy and purpose. We also offer psychosocial support to help manage the emotional toll that cancer takes, not only on the patients but also on their families. Recognizing that the impact of cancer is felt across the entire family, the program encourages siblings to continue their studies alongside the patient. This holistic approach aims to heal not just the body, but also the mind and spirit, leading to better outcomes and improved quality of life for the whole family.
The psychosocial department ensures patients and their families receive the support they need throughout this difficult journey. Patients and their families receive regular counseling, and activities and events are arranged regularly for them to relax, play, and keep their morale up.
Early Detection and Tackling Lymphoma in Children
Consult Healthcare Professionals: If you notice symptoms, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Blood Tests and Biopsies: These are essential diagnostic tools.
Holistic Treatment Plans: Treatment often involves chemotherapy, radiation, and may also include targeted therapies.
Psychological Support: Emotional support is as critical as medical treatment. IHHN provides this in spades.
Why Awareness is the Key
The key to defeating lymphoma is awareness—knowing the symptoms, risks, and available treatments. This holds especially true for our children, whose lives can be dramatically improved through early diagnosis and holistic care.
This World Lymphoma Awareness Day, let’s make a collective effort to raise awareness and take meaningful actions. Indus Hospital & Health Network is committed to providing top-notch, compassionate, and holistic healthcare for everyone, including our little heroes fighting against lymphoma. Together, we can contribute to a world with more survivors and fewer victims of this disease.