Lymphoma Australia and medical experts are using World Lymphoma Awareness Day (15 September) to ‘put lymphoma in the limelight’ and call for all Australians to better recognise the symptoms of a cancer.
New research has found that 86 per cent of Australians with lymphoma did not receive an immediate diagnosis when they initially presented to doctors with symptoms such as fatigue, swollen glands or lumps and night sweats.
“Despite claiming more lives than skin cancer, most Australians are unaware of the signs and symptoms of lymphoma. This often leads to delayed diagnosis and can make it harder to treat the cancer,” said Dr Jason Butler, Chairman of Lymphoma Australia.
“New therapies are transforming our ability to treat this cancer, but we need earlier diagnosis and timely access to these medicines if we are to turn the tide on lymphoma,”Dr Butler said.
For lymphoma patients like 25 year old Tara Deacon – whose younger sister Jade lost her life to lymphoma in February this year – earlier diagnosis and improved access to new medicines may have averted a family tragedy.
“Women know what to do if they have a lump in their breast, but too many people walk around with lumps in their neck and miss out on the opportunity for early diagnosis and treatment,” CEO of Lymphoma Australia Sharon Millman said.
“If there is one thing we want Australians to remember it is that swollen glands or lumps, fatigue or night sweats are the most common symptoms of lymphoma. “Every day we come across Australians whose stories highlight the importance of early diagnoses and improved access to the full range of medicines available overseas.
“We know of people who have exhausted current treatment options and are forced to use their life savings to pay for new medicines that are not subsidised on the PBS. Australians with lymphoma should not be forced to wait for access to medicines that are readily available overseas.”
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