For The Newly Diagnosed
Diagnosis of lymphoma is always a shock, especially if you
have gone to the doctor with vague symptoms. Many people living
with lymphoma have gone through extensive examinations, tests
and referrals before getting a diagnosis. Some people will be
put on a routine of “wait and watch” with regular check-ups
but no treatment. This can be unnerving when you have been told
you have a cancer, but for some of the very slow growing or
indolent lymphomas, this is standard. For other types, stages,
and grades of lymphoma, treatment may start quickly.
The most important thing to know is different
types, sub-types, stages and grades of lymphomas
may be treated differently. As well, the basic biological understanding
of lymphoma has been changing significantly as have the treatment
options. Great advances have been made in recent years. Some
kinds of lymphomas are highly curable while others are not,
but even people with the latter kinds can live long and well
with the right treatments.
Questions for your doctor
Patients diagnosed with lymphoma often feel overwhelmed and
find it difficult to think about what they need and want to
know to get started. The questions below may be helpful in initiating
a discussion with your doctor and understanding the disease.
Many patients feel it is beneficial to have someone to accompany
them and take notes on what the doctor says.
- What type of lymphoma do I have; what stage and grade is
- What is my prognosis, in your opinion?
- What tests will I need to take?
- How will this cancer affect my life? work? family?
- What changes should I expect to happen?
- What adjustments should I make to my everyday life?
- What are my treatment options? Which treatment do you recommend
There are questions to ask your doctor on the
Lymphoma Foundation Canada website.
Remember to visit the
Ninon Bourque Patient Resource Library at The Ottawa Hospital
Regional Cancer Centre. The librarians are extremely
helpful and there is considerable material available for your
use. Also visit the Resources and Links
page of this website for additional information sources.
There is a whole new vocabulary to learn once you have been
diagnosed with lymphoma. Understanding the terminology will
help you understand the disease better as well as improve your
communications with your medical team. While there are a number
of glossaries on various websites under the Resources
and Links page, two useful glossaries are the Lymphoma
Foundation Canada glossary and the glossary found in the
‘Lymphoma and You’ guide, which is available through your healthcare provider.
The treatment options you might be offered will depend on the
type or sub-type of lymphoma you have, plus its stage, grade
and other prognostic factors. Overviews of lymphoma treatments
are provided in many of the sites on the Resources
and Links page.
However, be aware that non-Canadian information
sources may refer to diagnostic and treatment options, which
are not routine in Ontario or not available in Ontario.