National Blood Cancer Awareness Month | How You Can Help
Since 2010, September has officially been recognized as National Blood Cancer Awareness Month. The two most common types of Blood Cancer are Leukemia and Lymphoma. These are also two of the most common types of cancer found in children – and cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death among children and adolescents in the United States. So, what is blood cancer? What’s being done to stop it? And how can you help?
What is blood cancer?
Blood Cancer, such as Leukemia and Lymphoma, is a disease that originates in white blood cells. Approximately every 3-4 minutes, or the time it will take you to read this article, one person in the United States (US) is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Approximately every 10 minutes, someone in the US dies from a blood cancer. This statistic represents nearly 152 people each day or more than six people every hour.
What is the difference between Leukemia and Lymphoma?
Both are cancers in the blood that result from problems with white blood cells. They also develop more slowly than other cancers. However, Leukemia affects blood cells in bone marrow, while Lymphoma develops in the lymphatic system. There are slightly more cases of Lymphoma than Leukemia diagnosed each year.
What is Hodgkin’s Disease?
A common form of Lymphoma is Hodgkin Lymphoma, formally known as Hodgkin’s Disease. It is one of the most curable forms of cancer. The other common form of Lymphoma is non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is different because the cancer doesn’t originate with an enlarged lymph node.
Who does Leukemia & Lymphoma affect?
Leukemia has the highest incidence rate (8.8%) found among children aged 1–4 years. Leukemia can occur in males and females of all ages and all races. Leukemia is the most common cancer in Hispanic children and adolescents; five-year relative survival rate is slightly lower for Hispanics. The five-year relative survival rate for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia is about 8% lower for African-Americans than that of whites.
Who’s doing the research?
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: “Survival among people with blood cancers has doubled, tripled and even quadrupled during the last 40 years, with dramatic advances in the last decade. Substantial progress has been made because of research in the laboratory and through the partnership of the [LLS] healthcare team and patients in clinical trials.”
The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF): This is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to funding innovative lymphoma research and providing people with lymphoma and healthcare professionals with up-to-date information about this type of cancer. The LRF awards grants to both early career doctors/scientists as well as seniors. Young Investigator Grants attract and train early career scientists for lymphoma research while Disease-Specific Focus Areas grants are given to senior researchers studying specific subtypes and/or patient population.
Who’s getting creative to help fight blood cancers?
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS has an initiative called “Team In Training,” which offers athletic training and support in exchange for fundraising. This is a creative way to encourage financial support as well as healthy lifestyles and cancer prevention.
The Max Foundation, founded in honor of a boy named Max who lost the fight to Leukemia at 17, strives to ‘help people face cancer with dignity and hope.’ The Foundation released a book called Maximo and the Big C, a children’s book meant to inspire and uplift kids, which is either donated to child cancer patients around the world, or sold with all proceeds going back to the organization. Reading, inspiring and giving back – a wonderful combination!
What can you do?
1. Educating yourself about blood cancer is the first step – well done!
2. Donate to the organizations highlighted in this article
3. Read Maximo and the Big C to child cancer patients in your community
4. Sign up for LLC’s Team in Training. Get fit while making a difference.
5. Give social media love to the cause throughout the month by tagging #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth – and try to find a monument lit up red in honor of blood cancer month and post it on Instagram to show your support and spread awareness.
From the Editor
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