While it might seem unusual for someone in their thirties to battle cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma is actually more common in young adults.
As a Sioux Falls firefighter and father of two, Dustin Luebke is likely not who you picture when you think of a cancer patient, but the 30-year-old is battling Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
"We see young patients 18 to 24, 30 years old. Then it becomes less common after that, and again at age 60 and above it can happen again," Dr. Ahmed Galal said.
Dr. Ahmed Galal says younger patients typically respond better to treatment, but overall Hodgkin's lymphoma is considered one of the most curable forms of cancer.
"Most people will respond very well, and it will cure the disease. There is about 15 to 20-percent of patients who present up front and would have recurrence of the disease," Galal said.
But up to half of those who have recurrence survive. Galal says new treatment has improved survival rates in those who struggle against the disease.
Most patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma are actually diagnosed with the disease fairly early on because they notice the symptoms.
"They present with very apparent lymph nodes, so it is easier to diagnose the disease, and we do a biopsy of the lymph node and figure out what is going on," Galal said.
Other symptoms might include fever; night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.
"Sometimes actually they have itchiness as well," Galal said.
Galal says any cancer diagnosis is difficult, but Luebke is optimistic he will beat the disease and continue to serve the City of Sioux Falls.
You are more at risk for Hodgkin's lymphoma if you have a family history of the disease, are male or are between the ages of 15 and 35, as well as older than 55.