Advances in non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment have improved survival rate

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gary Pinkel is one of more than 70,000 Americans diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma this year. It happens when the body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, night sweats and weight loss. Nearly all cases occur in adults. About half are older than 66. Pinkel is 63.

With advances in treatment, survival has improved greatly. Overall, the five-year survival rate is 63 percent, but doctors say survival can vary widely depending on the type and stage of this disease and the patient's age.

Treatment typically includes chemotherapy and often, antibody therapy. The release from MU says Pinkel received multiple treatments in May and June. A specialist at K.U. Cancer Center, Dr. Joseph McGuirk, tells FOX 4 it is typical to have treatment for four to six months and many patients continue to work during that time.