Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, and every nine minutes someone in our country dies from the disease, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Additionally, more than a third of blood cancer patients still do not survive five years after their diagnosis. While not one of the most prevalent cancers, it is clear that cancer of the blood is marked by what is often a dire prognosis, so there is a tremendous need for resources to better understand the etiology and behavior of the disease. Thursday, September 1st marks the beginning of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Designated in 2010 by the United States Congress, Blood Cancer Awareness Month is intended to increase awareness and education on blood cancers and related conditions as well as drive fundraising for research and treatment. With September 15 marking World Lymphoma Awareness Day, hosted by the international non-profit Lymphoma Coalition (LC), this next month represents the perfect opportunity to call attention to various donation efforts.
As we’ve detailed in the past with our Specimen Spotlight on Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome samples, donating one’s bone marrow, blood, or other biological specimens can help researchers who are actively working to develop new treatments. For individuals looking to have an impact in other important ways, the Be the Match registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, allows volunteers the opportunity to directly save patient lives through bone marrow and cord blood transplants. Financial donations are being sought by several blood cancer advocacy and research groups, including the LLS, the Leukemia Research Foundation, and the Lymphoma Research Foundation, which is also spearheading a “Light it Red” campaign.
“Someday is Today” is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s tag line. We encourage everyone to take this motto to heart, and act on a day in September in support of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.