By: Meghan Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer, Lymphoma Research Foundation
As we approach the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), we turn our attention to the latest advances in the care and treatment for people with lymphoma. The annual meeting is one of the world’s leading conferences for hematologists/ oncologists and researchers working in the area of the hematologic malignancies, offering a crucial forum for sharing and discussing new developments.
More than 20,000 researchers are expected to attend this year’s meeting, convening in Atlanta to discuss cutting edge research. We are pleased to report that among them will be many Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) Scientific Advisory Board members and grantees.
The meeting also represents a time of great excitement – and hope – for people who have been personally impacted by lymphoma.
Patients and caregivers are interested not only in scientific advances being made, but the impact these innovations with have on their treatment and care. To understand their impact, LRF will hold a national teleconference in January to provide key updates from the ASH meeting. To learn more or register to participate, please click here.
In addition to learning about new treatment options, it is important to understand the patient experience, including their goals for treatment and previous experience with other therapies. The peer support that patients find from one another in sharing these experiences can be incredibly valuable and empowering.
In fact, the single most popular section of the LRF website is our Stories of Hope profiles, where patients are able to share their personal lymphoma journey with others. Today it is my honor to highlight some of these stories, and invite you to learn more about these extraordinary survivors and the lymphoma patient experience, in their own words.
After one of our medicines receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration, my team works with health systems and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to establish access to our medicines. Under the current system, that process focuses on per-unit prices and discounts to gain formulary placement and determine a patient’s copay.
AstraZeneca is currently working with private payers and health plans in new ways to develop innovative and flexible ways to pay for medicines that focus on results, lower out-of-pocket costs, and enable patients to access the right treatments the first time. We believe this emphasis on value and not solely volume holds promise to improve patient outcomes, provide access to medicines, and increase efficiencies.
Bob, Mantle Cell Lymphoma Survivor
“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is never something that you can be prepared for; I drove home in a state of shock. I had no conception of what mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) was, and I didn't know how to deal with it. But luckily, I had a good team of doctors…
“We followed the treatment plan that my doctors made, which resulted in complete remission. Looking back on it, I would have asked more questions in the beginning. At the time, I only asked if their treatment plan was going to help me.”
Juliana, Follicular Lymphoma Survivor
“My initial diagnosis was stage IV, grade 3a follicular lymphoma, which meant I would need to have extensive treatment. Because of the treatment I received for my first cancer, this was complicated because I had already had the maximum life-time allowed dosage of the current treatment I was undergoing.
"After I went for a second opinion, my cancer was graded differently. I think the benefit of seeking a second opinion was huge because the physician I saw for the second opinion was a lymphoma expert.”
Bruce, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Survivor
“While I was still in treatment, I attended my first Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) Lymphoma Walk and it was truly life-changing. I met so many survivors who inspired me immensely. I knew once I was in remission that I wanted to be that inspiration for others too.
"I have organized a Zumbathon, a bracelet drive, and a fundraising dinner to support my Lymphoma Walk team Medley's Soldiers.
"I remember my first walk and how weak I was, which made it all the more important for me to complete the walk. After all, it is not how you start, but how you finish that really matters.”
I hope you are as inspired as I am by these amazing people. If you would like to read more Stories of Hope or even submit a story of your own, please visit our website today.