September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness month. I didn’t even know that until yesterday when I read someone else’s blog
By: Robin Harry
This is an excerpt of a conversation I had with someone a while back:
Person: “So…Robin….you don’t REALLY have CANCER, do you?”
(a couple seconds of dumbfounded silence)
Me: “Yes, of course I have cancer!! What do you mean?”
Person: “Well, most people talk about lung CANCER, breast CANCER, prostate CANCER…but yours is just lymphoma?”
September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness month. I didn’t even know that until yesterday when I read someone else’s blog (The Great Balancing Act, excellent blog) and she mentioned it. There are great national awareness campaigns for other cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer, but lymphoma is largely ignored in the public setting. For one, it’s a rarer disease. It’s not even half as common as prostate cancer or colon cancer – it even has a lower incidence than skin cancer in the US. Second – see the above conversation – the word “cancer” isn’t attached to the name of the disease, so it automatically sounds a lot more ambiguous and a bit less sinister. Also, we don’t have a Lance Armstrong or a Sheryl Crow – not very many prominent celebrity spokespersons for lymphoma. Although now I think people these days probably know it as “the cancer that Dexter had” (see Michael C. Hall talk about having Hodgkin’s lymphoma here).
Robert Pattinson recently launched a campaign called “Cancer Bites” to raise awareness of the blood cancers (vampires, blood…get it?). While I don’t quite know how I feel about lymphoma being associated with vampirism (or even worse, Twilight), maybe his efforts will help eliminate conversations such as the one I’ve just recounted. At the very least, team Edward will know what it is!
Anyways, I’m going to do my part by posting a few blogs over the month of September just explaining what lymphoma is; the lymphatic system, my particular kind of lymphoma (Non-Hodgkin’s), what makes blood cancers different from solid tumour cancers, chemotherapy and side effects, etc. Hopefully, this will have more effect than changing my Facebook status to “repost if you can spell lymphoma…”
Follow us on Social Media to stay up to date and informed on all things Lymphoma Canada!