Here’s how you can support lymphoma warriors and survivors – Manila Newsletter
It is one of the most common cancers in the country
Did you know that lymphoma is one of the top 15 cancers in the Philippines, affecting around 11,000 Filipinos every year? Life already demands living through the pandemic, and we can only imagine the challenges facing cancer warriors and survivors at times like these. The lack of awareness about the disease and how we can help them does not help and that is why it is important to know what we can do and how we can comfort them.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in cells of the immune system that fight infections, called lymphocytes. The lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other areas of the body contain these cells, and lymphoma causes the lymphocytes to change and increase uncontrollably.
Some of the common symptoms of this disease include enlarged lymph nodes, chills, weight loss, and fatigue which can be mistaken for other conditions such as an infection. This is why it is important to get examined by a doctor for a correct diagnosis.
This September, as global lymphoma awareness is recognized, Lymphoma Philippines, a nonprofit organization for lymphoma patients, survivors, and caregivers, aims to raise awareness of medically-approved lymphoma-related campaigns in the country.
The lack of information is what inspired cancer survivor Jheric Delos Angeles and his wife Anna Tapel-Delos Angeles to create a community for them. Dedicated to Filipino patients and their family members, Lymphoma Philippines aims to educate more people and provide much-needed support to those in need, including fighting for better healthcare.
Rhiz, a lymphoma cancer patient, shares her experience of living with the disease amid the pandemic: “It’s very difficult. The agony is double,” shares Rhiz. “During the pandemic, going to hospital was difficult and scary for cancer patients like me. As it is, we can’t afford to get Covid.
Christine, carer of a lymphoma patient, echoes Rhiz’s sentiments about hospital visits. Apart from this, patients’ incomes were cut off for some time during the lockdown and they had to rely on their savings to continue taking their medications.
Due to cases like this, Lymphoma Philippines hopes to continue spreading information and possibly saving lives. The organization along with the Carewell Community Foundation, Erwin P. Cabanag Adult Leukemia Ministry (EPCALM,) Kanser sa Adolescents and Young Adults (KAYA,) and the Philippine Cancer Society, in partnership with Takeda Healthcare Philippines, hosted an online public event to mark World Lymphoma Awareness Day and share useful practical information for Filipino lymphoma patients and their families. This includes:
● Mental wellness tips for patients and loved ones
● A private Facebook group for patients and their loved ones where they can get
information and support from each other
● Patient navigation that helps patients on their journey from diagnosis to post-treatment and connects them with the right organizations and groups
● Emotional support groups in partnership with Kanser sa Adolescents and Young Adults (KAYA) and The Carewell Community Foundation
● Social work services that can help patients on their journey
“It’s an incredibly difficult journey for patients and their loved ones living with cancer. Having been through it myself, a strong support system is crucial in the journey and at Lymphoma Philippines we are committed to helping where we can,” shares Lymphoma Philippines Co-Founder Jheric Delos Angeles .
Featured Image by stefamerpik on Freepik
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