Advocating for Your Health Means Watching Out for Symptoms
- A woman who discovered a lump on her neck was initially told she had a tonsilitis infection. However, further testing revealed a Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. She detailed her cancer journey on social media raising awareness about the disease and advocating for your health.
- Lymphomas are cancers that begin in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. The two main categories of lymphomas are non-Hodgkin – which is far more common and Hodgkin lymphoma. Fortunately, Hodgkin lymphoma is "highly curable" according to the National Cancer Institute.
- Common symptoms for lymphomas may include unexplained weight loss, fevers, night sweats, and painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin.
- Advocating for your own health can lead to better patient outcomes. When you suspect your symptoms are not fully considered or outright dismissed, consider seeing a different doctor.
- Getting multiple opinions from different doctors can help lead you to an accurate diagnosis in case the first doctor overlooked something.
A woman who shared her cancer journey on social media is using her experience to raise awareness of the subtle warning signs of Hodgkin lymphoma and advocating for your health.
Chloe Reid is an avid TikToker posting regular updates on her life. However, in November 2022, she noticed something didn’t feel quite right. She discovered a lump on her neck. The discovery prompted the zestful millennial to see a doctor who told her the lump was from a lingering infection from tonsilitis. However, further tests revealed the unsuspecting lump was tell-tale signs of something more.
@chloereid89 Love life #fyp #fypage #boyfriend #summervibes â™¬ Hate It Or Love It – G-Unit Remix – 50 Cent
Lymphoma is a cancer of your immune system. It starts in a specific kind of white blood cell called the lymphocyte. These cells are part of the body’s lymphatic system which is a network of vessels and nodes that collect fluid, waste, and germs like bacteria and viruses. This system drains excess fluid and waste from your tissues and drains them into your bloodstream. It also produces disease-fighting white blood cells that defend your body against infections.
The two main categories of lymphomas are non-Hodgkin – which is far more common and classical Hodgkin lymphoma. There are many types of non-hodgkin lymphoma.
Hodgkin lymphoma has distinctive, giant cells called Reed-Sternberg cells. The presence of these cells, which can be seen under a microscope, will help your doctor determine which of the two lymphoma types you have. Fortunately, Hodgkin lymphoma is highly curable with approximately an 80% cure rate according to the National Cancer Institute.
WATCH: Dr. Elise Chong explains that there are many different types of lymphoma.
Common symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma may include unexplained weight loss, fevers, night sweats, and painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin. Reid's symptoms were most noticeably a swollen lymph node in her neck.
Before Reid began chemotherapy in May 2023, she bravely underwent a procedure to have her eggs frozen and removed. This emotional decision is one many women diagnosed with cancer often confront.
For these younger women, if they haven’t completed their families yet, preserving their fertility may be a priority. "They want to know if they’ll ever be able to have a baby, Barbara Dehn, a nurse practitioner at El Camino Women’s Medical Group in the San Francisco Bay Area, previously told SurvivorNet.
WATCH: Fertility and cancer.
Women should discuss fertility-sparing options with their cancer specialists before treatment. If surgery this extensive is medically necessary, "women can decide before their surgery to freeze their eggs so that they can have a baby later on," says Dehn.
Reid said in a recent video post, she's completed her first cycle of chemotherapy as she worked toward remission. In July, she shared a video that shows her dancing with her friend celebrating her cancer journey thus far.
@chloereid89 @ wherever #fyp #fypage #hodgkinslymphoma #bestie #cancer â™¬ Wherever i go hannah montana forever – Slept on Songz
Dancing in the rain to celebrate me finishing chemotherapy and beating cancer, a resilient Reid happily wrote in a caption.
Learn About Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas
- All about Biopsies for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- All About Follicular Lymphoma: A Common Type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Bispecific Antibodies Deliver One-Two Punch to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- CAR T-Cell Therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Drug Cocktail Helps Keep Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Under Control
- How Effective is Radiation Treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
- Some Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatable With “Boom-Boom” Radiation
Advocating for Your Health
Patients advocating for their health can lead to better patient outcomes. This is especially important when you find your doctor has misdiagnosed your symptoms.
WATCH: Advocating for your health.
A component of advocating for yourself in healthcare includes going back to the doctor multiple times and even getting multiple opinions.
Dr. Steven Rosenberg is the National Cancer Institute Chief of Surgery, and he previously told SurvivorNet about the advantages of getting input from multiple doctors.
WATCH: The value of multiple opinions.
"If I had any advice for you following a cancer diagnosis, it would be, first, to seek out multiple opinions as to the best care. Because finding a doctor who is up to the latest of information is important," Dr. Rosenberg said.
Questions for Your Doctor
If you find yourself experiencing unusual symptoms such as a lingering cough or a part of your body that's painful to touch, these are things you should bring to your doctor's attention.
Here are some takeaways to think about when talking to your doctor.
- Are you experiencing pain or fever that won't go away?
- Are you gaining or losing weight unexplainable?
- Have you discovered any bumps, spots on your skin, or lumps on parts of your body that cannot be explained?
- Are you struggling to get a good night's rest?
- Are you noticing changes in your bathroom habits such as blood in your urine or stool?