Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Is Common, Curable

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma have more than tripled in the last thirty years according to the latest Cancer Research UK figures published today.

Overall the number of people diagnosed with the disease in Great Britain has risen from over 3,000 in 1975 to more than 10,300 in 2006.

Similar to the rise in cases, the overall rate of people dying from the disease rose until 1999; but it has been falling since 2002 from 6 per 100,000, down to 5.2 per 100,000 in 2007 in the UK.

Experts believe the rise in cases over the past 30 years can be attributed to an ageing population and to an increase in the number of older people developing large B-cell lymphoma - an aggressive form of the disease, but one which can now often be successfully treated.

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The fall in death rates can be traced to clinical trials which have led to the introduction of new treatments such as the antibody rituximab, approved for use in UK patients in 2000.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, said: "These figures reflect the progress made in the treatment and care of patients with non- Hodgkin lymphoma.

"An ageing population and a rise in the number of older people developing more aggressive forms of lymphoma are the main reasons behind the increase we have seen in the number of cases over the last few decades.

"But thanks to a huge investment in lymphoma clinical trials which have helped develop new treatments - most notably rituximab - the rate of death from the disease is dropping.

"Cancer Research UK continues to fund a number of lymphoma trials and we hope to see yet more improvements in survival in the future."

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Comments

This is a sensationalized and highly inappropriate headline! No where in the body of the article do you even allude to a "cure". Those of us in the trenches with NHL know that there is NO current cure, only treatment, which is what your headline should have told readers! Is it "curable"? That remains to be seen. But, unless you can predict the future, you have no business writing such a headline! Too bad you sacrificed journalistic integrity for the few extra pennies it earned you! It certainly cost you my respect and readership. And who knows how many other readers feel just the same!
In general, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas have a higher cure rate than solid cancers, reversible even in advanced stages. But there are many different subtypes of NHL. 85% of lymphoma cases are of the Diffuse Large B-Cell type and almost 2/3rds of those patients can expect their cases to be cured. Interestingly, it is typically the more aggressive forms of lymphoma (i.e., Diffuse Large B-Cell) that have the highest cure rates. A cure is not realistic for the indolent or slow growing forms (i.e., MALT, or Follicular). Management of the indolent diseases is usually the object of treatment -- though a patient can expect many years with a good quality of life. While lymphomas as a group are the fifth most common form of cancer, they are far from common (whatever that means). In 2007, 240,000 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the US but only 60,000 cases of lymphoma were diagnosed that year (and that's about 1/5th the incidence of such ailments as emphysema).