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Spreading the word about Lymphoma

Spreading the word about Lymphoma

When Gary Fredericksen went to a respiratory specialist with a chest complaint, he didn’t think it was a big deal. However he became concerned when the specialist found lumps on his body and referred him for a biopsy. After a nervous long wait, Gary was told he had stage-four follicular lymphoma.

Today (September 15) is World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD) and Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) is calling for Kiwis to help spread the word about lymphoma.

Over 800 people in New Zealand are diagnosed with lymphoma every year, however most people don’t know what lymphoma is or its signs and symptoms.

Symptoms of both Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin include: swollen lymph nodes, regular and frequent fevers, unexplained weight loss, severe night sweats, generalised itching, and a persistent fatigue and lack of energy.

Many people who have been diagnosed with lymphoma never knew what lymphoma was until they received their diagnosis and have then had to learn about the blood cancer. World Lymphoma Awareness Day aims to get people talking about lymphoma to understand its signs and symptoms.

When Gary received his diagnosis he was in complete denial thinking a cancer diagnosis would never happen to him. He didn’t know what his condition was or how to handle it.

“I was a fitness freak my whole life and to be honest I thought that I was bulletproof,” says Gary.

Gary came to terms with his diagnosis by learning about his disease and how to cope with it.

“I have no hesitations telling people that I have cancer because it’s now something that I don’t run away from,” says Gary.

Gary is currently on a ‘watch and wait’ programme where his doctors monitor his condition until he needs treatment.

Pru Etcheverry, CEO of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand stresses the need for New Zealanders to be aware of the signs and symptoms of lymphoma and talk about any concerns with their GP.

“Lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer in New Zealand and the most common in 15-24 year olds yet so many New Zealanders have no idea what it is.”

“It’s really important for people to recognise the symptoms of lymphoma to ensure they visit their health professional if they have any concerns. This in turn may aid a speedy diagnosis which can result in more effective treatment.”

To hear more about Gary’s lymphoma journey watch here: http://www.leukaemia.org.nz/page/540

Key Messages

World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD) is a global event observed every year on 15 September.

WLAD is an international effort to raise much-needed awareness about lymphoma. Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is a member of the international Lymphoma Coalition which aims to raise awareness about lymphoma. Lymphoma is increasing in incidence globally; an increase which is reflected in New Zealand where:

• Lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer in New Zealand

• Lymphoma is the most common cancer in 15-24 year olds

• Over 800 people in New Zealand are diagnosed with lymphoma every year

• Close to 300 New Zealanders die from lymphoma every year

• Lymphoma is more common than leukaemia

• Lymphoma is increasing in incidence globally; this increase is reflected in New Zealand

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