It might be claimed that, similar to the original adage “It takes a village to raise a child,” it takes a village to fight and defeat cancer. Even though just one body is engaged in physical conflict, the encouragement of friends and family matters greatly on the emotional and mental fronts.
This year’s World Lymphoma and Blood Cancer Awareness Month sees the community join together to commemorate the survivors, fighters, and their families.
The most prevalent types of blood cancers include lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma. Blood cancers are caused by DNA abnormalities in blood cells. The World Health Organization’s Global Cancer Observatory estimates that every year in the Philippines, 5,000 cases of lymphoma, 6,000 cases of leukemia, and 800 cases of myeloma are diagnosed. That amounts to about 12,000 Filipinos a year receiving a blood cancer diagnosis. It is more than simply a number; it also represents 12,000 affected families, 12,000 interrupted lives, and 12,000 struggles for a better tomorrow.
Unknown to many, Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the immune system’s infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. The lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other areas of the body contain these cells, and Lymphoma leads lymphocytes to change and increase out of control. Common symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, chills, weight loss, fatigue– all of which are more likely to be caused by, or confused with other conditions, which is why getting checked by a doctor is important for proper diagnosis, and education about blood cancers needs to be reinforced. Lymphoma Philippines aims to make this happen.
Lymphoma Philippines is a non-profit organization for Lymphoma patients, survivors, and caregivers aiming to spread awareness and education on Lymphoma, and connect the community through medically-approved Lymphoma-related campaigns in the country. The lack of information is what inspired cancer survivor Jheric Delos Angeles, after his recovery from Stage 4 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, and his wife Anna Tapel-Delos Angeles to create a community of Filipino patients and their family members in order to educate more people and provide much needed support to those in need, including fighting for better healthcare.
As part of these efforts, Jheric and Anna unveil The LymphomaQR Project, an initiative that aims to make information accessible to the general public through an easy-to-use and familiar tool. With the goal of helping Filipinos have access to relevant information all throughout their Lymphoma journey, the LymphomaQR chatbot hopes to lessen the burden that they face. With LymphomaQR, anyone can:
- Know more about Lymphoma, its symptoms
- Possible treatment options
- Available financial assistance programs
“We looked back at our personal journey in the fight against Lymphoma, and saw the gaps to be filled– one of which is quick access to reliable information. With LymphomaQR, we’re simply taking queues from technological trends readily accepted by people to be able to make the experience easier for them, lessening the burden in whatever way we can,” says Lymphoma Philippines co-founder Jheric Delos Angeles.
Jheric and Anna also recognize that there is a bigger battle to be fought and more people willing to support the cause, all united by blood. In line with this, Lymphoma Philippines officially launches the Blood Cancer Alliance of the Philippines this World Lymphoma Awareness Month. Joining forces with EPCALM Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines, Kanser sa Adolescents and Young Adults Community / KAYA Community, The Carewell Community Foundation, Touched by Max Inc, Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations, UST Hospital Hematology Department, Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine, and Takeda Healthcare Philippines Inc., the alliance aims to shed light on the issues faced by Filipino blood cancer patients, increase efficiency to access information and support, and overall improve the experience and outcomes of all those living with blood cancer.
“We can never truly know the gravity of the battle of our survivors, warriors, and their families. Nevertheless, let us continue offering our support even by simply clicking the share button. It only takes a second. A nugget of vital information when shared with many can make a difference. Let’s make it happen with the help of Lymphoma Philippines and the Blood Cancer Alliance of the Philippines,” urges Dr. Clarito Cairo, Department of Health, Disease Prevention and Control Management Bureau, Cancer Control Division, Program Manager. “We at the Department of Health thank you for this, and lend our full support.”
Visit Lymphoma Philippines’ website at lymphomaphilippines.com or its Facebook page at facebook.com/LymphomaPH for additional information.