The Lymphoma Support Group of Ottawa
For Questions and Information, please send us an email.
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.

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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.

Initial Questions
  • What type of lymphoma do I have; what stage and grade is it?
  • 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 and why?

There are questions to ask your doctor on the Lymphoma Foundation Canada website.

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Other resources

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.

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