Signs You Have Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma like Jane Fonda
Actress Jane Fonda, 84, recently announced she has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a common cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, and noted she's currently in chemotherapy. In an Instagram post, the Academy Award winner revealed, "So, my dear friends, I have something personal I want to share. I've been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and have started chemo treatments," Fonda began in the post. "This is a very treatable cancer. 80% of people survive, so I feel very lucky." The Grace and Frankie star also acknowledged her access to good doctors, something not everyone has. "I'm also lucky because I have health insurance and access to the best doctors and treatments. I realize, and it's painful, that I am privileged in this. Almost every family in America has had to deal with cancer at one time or another and far too many don't have access to the quality health care I am receiving and this is not right." More than 80,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma this year, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. George Nahas, medical oncologist at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, specializing in the treatment of blood disorders and diseases who shares what to know about the cancer and signs that indicate you could have it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What Jane Fonda Has Learned From Cancer Diagnosis
Fonda is using her diagnosis as an opportunity to gain a new perspective and shared, "Cancer is a teacher and I'm paying attention to the lessons it holds for me. One thing it's shown me already is the importance of community. Of growing and deepening one's community so that we are not alone. And the cancer, along with my age –almost 85– definitely teaches the importance of adapting to new realities."
She adds, "We're living through the most consequential time in human history because what we do or don't do right now will determine what kind of future there will be and I will not allow cancer to keep me from doing all I can, using every tool in my toolbox and that very much includes continuing to build this Fire Drill Fridays community and finding new ways to use our collective strength to make change."
While she's in treatment, she's not slowing down and continues to fight for her causes.
"I'm doing chemo for 6 months and am handling the treatments quite well and, believe me, I will not let any of this interfere with my climate activism."
She states, "We also need to be talking much more not just about cures but about causes so we can eliminate them. For example, people need to know that fossil fuels cause cancer. So do pesticides, many of which are fossil fuel-based, like mine."
What is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Dr. Nahas explains, "Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that involves lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are a normal component of the immune system that processes infection and other insults to the body in order to maintain a healthy homeostasis. In lymphoma, the cells that make up a lymph node become cancerous and are nonfunctional."
The Lymphoma Research Foundation states, " Lymphoma is the most common type of blood cancer in adults and the third most common type of cancer overall in children. Each year, more than 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)."
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in your lymphatic system, which is part of the body's germ-fighting immune system. In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow abnormally and can form growths (tumors) throughout the body. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a general category of lymphoma. There are many subtypes that fall in this category. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma are among the most common subtypes. The other general category of lymphoma is Hodgkin's lymphoma."
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is Highly Treatable
Dr. Nahas tells us, "Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma comprises many subtypes and each is treated differently. Regardless, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is very treatable and new treatments are available every year. A good cancer center with a good pathology team will be able to differentiate between the subtypes and ultimately guide the oncologist in tailoring a patient-specific treatment."
The Cleveland Clinic says, "Studies show that overall, 73% percent of people with these conditions are alive five years after their diagnosis. In general, people diagnosed before the condition spreads live longer than people who are diagnosed after the condition spreads."
Who is at Risk for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
According to Dr. Nahas, "Characterizing those who are at risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is an area of ongoing research. While it has been well described that those with syndromes of immunodeficiencies, such as AIDS/HIV, are predisposed to developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, efforts are currently underway to identify environmental and genetic components that may also put patients at risk for the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Symptoms
Dr. Nahas says, "The three signs that may indicate that a patient has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma include:
-Unintentional weight loss
These are not specific to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, however these signs certainly warrant further workup. In addition to these three signs, regular follow-up appointments with your primary care provider with a physical exam and blood work can also help identify non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."
The Mayo Clinic states the following are also signs to watch out for.
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest pain, coughing or trouble breathing
- Persistent fatigue