The star of Spartacus, a New Zealand hit series, passed away on Sunday after 18 months of surviving from Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. "On a beautiful sunny Sydney spring morning, surrounded by his family, in the arms of his loving wife, our beautiful young warrior Andy Whitfield lost his 18 month battle with lymphoma cancer," Vashti Whitfield, the actor’s wife, stated to the press. The actor fought the cancer for 18 months until he was finally defeated.
The Spartacus actor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in March 2010. He began treating the cancer in New Zealand which delayed the production of Spartacus’ second season. In around June 2010, Whitfield was able to finish his treatment and was even given a clean bill of health. However, his battle with the cancer was not yet finished. He had his cancer back in September 2010. From then on, Whitfield fought for several months of pain and agony.
Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: The Killer Cancer
Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the cancer of the lymphoid tissue. The cancer also affects the lymph nodes, spleen, and the whole immune system. Most of the time, the cause of this cancer is unknown. However, people with low immune system have higher chances of developing this type of killer disease.
This cancer is classified into three grades: low, intermediate, and high. The most common type is the low grade which slowly progress and kill the healthy cells. This disease is more common in men than in women.
Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma is manifested by different signs and symptoms. The most common symptoms include fever, chills, itching, night sweats, weight loss, and swollen neck, groin, underarms or other lymph nodes. At times, coughing can be included and shortness of breath is also common. Some can even have abdominal swelling and pain. When the cancer affects the brain, headache, focus problems, and seizures can also be observed.
Before this type of cancer can be treated, there are things that one needs to consider like the type, the stage when first diagnosed, the age and health status of the patient, and other signs and symptoms. Basically, if the cancer is concentrated in one specific location, radiation therapy is used. However, chemotherapy is still the main treatment.
Low grade type Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cannot be treated by chemotherapy alone. But for people with this type, the cancer progresses slowly and it can take a lot of years before the cancer gets worse. On the contrary, chemotherapy can cure different types of high-grade lymphoma. But if the body does not react or respond to the treatment positively, rapid death may happen.
Records show that in Australia, a total of 4,443 cases of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma were noted to which 2,472 are men and 1,978 are women. In this statistics, almost 50% or 1,487 patients died.