Teen Celebrates First Year of Lymphoma Remission on Daffodil Day
Photo credit: News Limited
At the age of 16, Caitlin Toovey was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The courageous teenager had to make a rather hard decision to freeze her eggs before undergoing treatment. Egg freezing is a procedure that involves harvesting a woman’s eggs by medically freezing them and storing them in a secure space in case of loss of fertility. The procedure is performed preferably before undergoing radiation, chemotherapy, or a type of surgery. Cancer has the ability to affect fertility during treatment, or it may surface as a side effect of treatment following remission.
Caitlin received eight rounds of chemotherapy in total. Despite her condition, she was able to graduate high school with the rest of her classmates. She said her friends and family were her support system. On Daffodil Day, August 25th, 2017, she celebrated her one-year remission at the age of 17. Around the country, Daffodil Day symbolizes a significant cancer awareness celebration.
Evidence has shown a drastic improvement in cancer survival statistics in recent years. Chief executive Chris Mcmillan said children between the ages of 0 and 19 in Queensland, Australia are being diagnosed with cancer. However, she further stated that there have been massive gains in survival outcomes due to ongoing research and better treatments. All common forms of childhood cancer with a five-year relative survival have improved significantly over time. For example, she said the survival rates of lymphoid leukemia have improved by 57 percent. These higher survival rates are attributed to increased funding for clinical trials.
Commonly used cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Radiation slows down the growth of cancer cells or kills them entirely using high-energy transmission. Chemotherapy also slows the growth of cancer cells or kills them through drugs. Surgery is used to remove tumors and surrounding tissue.
When the cells grow and divide abnormally, cancer erupts. It can start anywhere and spread to other parts of the body. “Metastasis” is the term used to describe the spread of cancer cells to another part of the body. One of the leading causes of death worldwide is cancer. Cancer cells differ in their growth and spread, so, to describe general types of cancer, the clinical terms used are:
- Sarcoma: Cancer of the connective tissue
- Carcinoma: Cancer in the skin or tissue of internal organs
- Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancer of the immune system
- Leukemia: Cancer of the bone marrow
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma are cancers of the lymphocytes of the immune system. The cancer is identified as Hodgkin’s lymphoma if Reed-Sternberg cell is present; if this cell is not there, it is categorized as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Mutations in the DNA structure of cells is what causes cancer. These gene changes can occur due to environmental factors or they can be inherited. If you suspect you have cancer, contact your doctor right away; they can detect cancer at an early stage and begin administering a proper course of treatment. The following lifestyle changes can help to manage one’s risk of cancer:
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise daily
- Quit smoking
- Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meats
- Keep vaccinations up to date
- Avoid any risky activity
- See your doctor on a regular basis
- Avoid exposure to direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time
- Avoid the use of recreational drugs
- Moderate your intake of alcohol
- Reach out to your family, friends, and any support organizations for help