What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma? What the symptoms are as ex-Leeds man Sol Bamba begins treatment for disease

It was announced last night that Cardiff City's former Leeds United defender had been diagnosed with cancer.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 10:53 am
Sol Bamba during his Leeds United days playing a pre-season friendly match against York City at Bootham Crescent on July 15, 2015.

Former Leeds United and Hibernian defender Sol Bamba is being treated for cancer, Cardiff City has announced.

The 35-year-old Ivory Coast international has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is undergoing chemotherapy.

But what is the disease? Here, we take you through everything you need to know.

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Who is Sol Bamba?

Souleymane (or Sol for short) Bamba is a professional footballer who plays for Championship club Cardiff City and the Ivory Coast national team as a centre-back.

The defender's former clubs include Paris Saint Germain, Dunfermline Athletic, Hibernian, Leicester City, Trabzonspor, Palmero, Leeds United and Cardiff City.

Bamba has made 391 appearances in all competitions in club football, whilst representing his country on the international stage 46 times.

Sol Bamba in action during the FA Cup fourth round replay match between Cardiff City and Reading on February 4, 2020.

Bamba helped Cardiff City win promotion to the Premier League in 2018 and has made more than 100 appearances for the club since his arrival under Neil Warnock in 2016.

What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body called the lymphatic system.

The National Health Service website describes a ‘clear fluid called lymph’ which ‘flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains infection-fighting white blood cells known as lymphocytes.’

According to the NHS: “In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the affected lymphocytes start to multiply in an abnormal way and begin to collect in certain parts of the lymphatic system, such as the lymph nodes (glands).

“The affected lymphocytes lose their infection-fighting properties, making you more vulnerable to infection.”

What are the symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.

Other more general symptoms include night sweats, unintentional weight loss, a high temperature (fever), feelings of breathlessness, persistent itching of the skin all over the body.

What is the survival rate for people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

According to Cancer Research, the five-year net survival in men ranges from 84% in 15-39 year-olds to 43% in 80-99 year-olds for patients diagnosed with the disease in England from 2009 to 2013.

How was the announcement made?

The announcement of Bamba's diagnosis was made by Cardiff City, with the Welsh club sharing an official statement on their website and social media channels.

The Bluebirds said Bamba is ‘universally admired by team-mates, staff and supporters in the Welsh capital’.

The club's statement added: "During treatment Sol will support his teammates at matches and younger players within the Academy, with whom he will continue his coaching development.

How did the footballing community react?

Bamba received messages of support and well-wishes across social media following the announcement on Monday night.

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk tweeted: “Sending my best wishes and strength to the big man, you can beat this!! Stay strong.”

Bamba’s former club Leeds added: “The thoughts and best wishes of everyone at #LUFC are with Sol Bamba. Get well soon, the Leeds family is right behind you! #MOT.”

Nottingham Forest stated: “Always a tough opponent, we know you're going to win this fight, Sol. The thoughts of everyone at #NFFC are with you!”

Whilst Manchester City said: “Everyone at City sends their best wishes, Sol.”