14 September 2012

Celebs support World Lymphoma Awareness Day

1995 World Cup rugby star, Chris Rossouw, funny-man Kevin Perkins and Ilse-Mari Hodgskiss of Big Brother SA fame have joined forces for World Lymphoma Day on 15 September 2012.


1995 World Cup rugby star, Chris Rossouw, funny-man Kevin Perkins and Ilse-Mari Hodgskiss of Big Brother SA fame joined forces on Tuesday 11 September for the worldwide lymphoma awareness campaign. All having had lymphoma themselves, they are backing the “I am the voice of lymphoma” initiative which aims to increase awareness and early diagnosis of this dread disease.

Blood cancers, especially lymphoma, aren’t always understood or mentioned very often in the media. The lack of knowledge combined with that fact that lymphoma symptoms mimic those of a common flu, appears to have an influence on why this disease is often misdiagnosed and diagnosed at a late stage. This is something these celebs and all the other “I am the voice of lymphoma” participants realise and desperately want to change.

“We need to do more to make the general public aware. Make patients aware, get this early and there can be better prognosis” said Kevin Perkins at the breakfast. He continued, “if by participating in this initiative we save even five peoples lives, I am happy.”

The 15th of September 2012 marks the 9th anniversary of World Lymphoma Awareness Day. This initiative was originally started by the global Lymphoma Coalition, and aspires to bring together all concerned healthcare professionals, patients and caretakers in a joint effort to inform the public about the early warning signs and symptoms of lymphoma.

Leading up to World Lymphoma Awareness Day, this coming Saturday the Lymphoma Coalition in partnership with CHOC, Faces of Hope Foundation, The Sunflower Fund, Roche Products (Pty) Ltd, KZN Lymphoma Support Group, and Campaigning for Cancer hosted the second “I am the Voice of Lymphoma” breakfast. "The key objective, of course, was to raise awareness but it was also to discuss the importance of establishing an official voice for lymphoma,” said Chris.

Ilse-Mari relayed her cancer journey at the event. She’s conquered cancer, summited Mount Kilimanjaro, gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl last year and is now expecting a boy. Upbeat and always positive, she highlighted that “a cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to mean the beginning of the end of life, or the quality of life. You can fight it with the help of a great support system, and having the right mind-set.”

Lymphoma is one of the more aggressive and fastest spreading cancers in our modern world, and it is estimated to become the second or third largest cancer by 2025. Over a million people worldwide live with lymphoma, and nearly 1000 people are diagnosed with cancer every day. There appears to be a lack of understanding of this complex cancer, and this leads to diagnosis issues.

Dr Devan Moodley, an oncologist at Wits Oncology Centre, implored patients experiencing lymphoma symptoms to see a doctor with insight. “If you don’t get a good answer continue trying a different doctor until you get an answer and the problem is treated”. He also pointed out that “this disease is so treatable and beatable. We just need to find the people who have it”.

“Ilse-Mari’s, Kevin and Chris’s contribution to the cause has been dynamic and significant – from encouraging lymphoma survivors to stand together to promoting the importance of creating a lymphoma coalition in South Africa,” says Lauren Pretorius, CEO of Campaigning for Cancer.

About lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer involving cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are the white blood cells that help fight infections. When these lymphocytes undergo a transformation and start multiplying uncontrollably, these cells can form a cancerous tumour. Being diagnosed with lymphoma is not always fatal, but catching it early improves overall survival rate.

Symptoms of lymphoma, and in particular NHL (which is the most common form of lymphoma) are similar to influenza and tuberculosis. People suffering with lymphoma will also feel lethargic and will also have one of more of the following: fever, swollen glands, coughs, night sweats, persistent itching all over the body and unexplained weight loss.

There are two main types of lymphoma – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL). They can be distinguished from each other microscopically, but present very similar and almost identical symptoms.

Lymphoma is often confined to the lymph nodes and other lymphatic tissues, but they can spread to any other types of tissue almost anywhere in the body.

For more information visit: and, Join the "Be Cancer Aware" group on Facebook.

Be Cancer Aware press release

- (Health24, September 2012)

Read more:

Early lymphoma diagnosis critical
10 quick facts on lymphoma
A complete guide to lymphoma
Cancer real-life stories


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