A new survey from the Lymphoma Research Foundation has found that 86% of US adults are unaware that there are scores of different types of lymphoma. The results showed that while there is good awareness of lymphoma overall, most people do not realize that there are actually 67 different types of the disease—61 types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and six types of Hodgkin lymphoma.
“Lymphoma is not one disease, but a diverse group of diseases,” said Bruce Cheson, MD, Chair of the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board and Professor and Head of Hematology and Director of Hematology Research at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Fortunately, over the past few decades significant progress has been made in understanding how to distinguish among the many types of lymphoma, not only by how they look under the microscope, but by how they behave clinically, how they respond to treatment, and how patients with them survive. This distinction is important, because knowing your type of lymphoma will eventually lead to personalized treatment, which will be more effective and less toxic than the treatments currently available.”
* Of those who personally knew someone with lymphoma, only half (51%) were aware of the specific type.
* Fewer than 20% of those surveyed had heard of B-cell or T-cell lymphoma.
* 71% of survey participants said that they considered the stage of cancer to be more important than the type of lymphoma, when in actuality knowing the specific type of lymphoma is just as important as stage.
“The results of this survey highlight the opportunity to increase education around the ‘family’ of lymphomas,” said LRF CEO Diane Blum, MSW. “At LRF, we encourage patients and caregivers to learn as much as possible about their specific diagnosis so that they can play an active role in their treatment. Knowing and understanding the specific type of lymphoma is crucial to receiving the right treatment.”
The survey of 1,000 adults age 18 or older was conducted by Synovate Healthcare and funded through a grant from Allos Therapeutics, which makes the peripheral T-cell lymphoma drug pralatrexate (Folotyn).