Blood Cancer Awareness Month
This month it’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month. It was created as an opportunity to raise awareness of blood cancers and blood disorders, as well as highlighting the incredible gift of a second chance at life that stem cell donors give to those who need it.
There are many types of blood cancer which have different symptoms, treatments and prognosis. The 3 main types of blood cancer are Leukaemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma, but there is also a blood condition that can develop into blood cancer, known as Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. (MGUS)
MGUS is a blood condition that happens when plasma cells develop unusually in your bone marrow. In itself it isn’t harmful and is unlikely to make you feel unwell so it doesn’t usually require treatment. However, a small number of people with MGUS (about 1% every year) do go on to develop blood cancer. If you have MGUS, you will have regular blood tests to check that MGUS isn’t developing into blood cancer.
In the UK, every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer or disorder, and for most people a blood stem cell donation from a stranger with similar DNA is their best – or only – chance of survival.
Every year, more than 2,000 people in the UK are in need of blood stem cell donation from an unrelated person. Four out of ten of those people won’t find a match. With thousands of possible DNA types, the registry needs to grow to ensure that every person in need has a fighting chance.
Covid-19 has had a real impact on people joining the register. The pandemic has also meant delays in diagnosis and treatments, and sadly currently only 2% of the UK population is on the blood stem cell register, but it is simple to sign up. https://www.dkms.org.uk/en/register-now
You can also help to raise awareness of blood cancer and disorders by talking to family and friends and sharing any social media posts that you see. You can find out more about blood cancer and disorders here https://www.dkms.org.uk/en
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