NEW YORK, May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- CancerCare today announced the launch of the first-ever Acute Myeloid Leukemia Awareness Month to be held in June. The goal of the campaign is to put a spotlight on the disease, a rare and difficult-to-treat blood cancer that typically affects older adults.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow and can worsen quickly if left untreated. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is estimated that there will be 19,950 new cases of acute myeloid leukemia in 2016 and an estimated 10,430 people will die from the disease. AML is more common in older adults, who are also the most difficult to treat, with 67 as the median age of diagnosis. While progress in treating leukemia has been made, there has been only one AML treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past 30 years (and that drug was subsequently withdrawn from the market).
Patricia J. Goldsmith, CEO of CancerCare, said, "The AML community's voice has not always been heard. We hope to put a spotlight on AML in June and help focus attention on the urgent need these patients and their families have for hope."
AML Awareness Month will feature in-depth information about AML on the organization's website, including a video that features Turner Sports broadcaster Craig Sager who is battling the disease. Craig is best known as a sideline reporter for many NBA games; he is also well known for the colorful outfits he wears during broadcasts. The video features his wife, Stacy, and his children including his son, Craig Jr., who donated his bone marrow twice in an effort to save his father.
On June 17, CancerCare is sponsoring a free virtual education program on AML for people living with the disease, their family and friends as well as health care professionals. CancerCare is also launching a social media effort during the month of June featuring Sager to help raise awareness of AML.
"I am proud to lend my voice to this effort," Craig Sager said. Craig recently learned that his cancer had returned for a third time, but is more determined than ever to beat AML. "I intend to keep fighting for myself and for my family. It is important that the cancer community focus on advancing new treatments that will help both the quality of life and lifespan of patients with AML. Physicians and patients alike need more treatments for this disease."
Craig Sager, Jr. added, "It's been a real journey over the past two years for me. I had to educate myself about AML and bone marrow donation. I watched my dad cope with this horrible disease all while keeping a positive attitude about the future. My hope is we can put the spotlight on AML and ultimately be able to offer more and more new treatments for patients who are in such need. I also hope our story will encourage more family members, friends and the general public to consider donating bone marrow or platelets which can be lifesaving for someone with AML."
Funding for the AML Awareness Month has been provided, in part, by unrestricted educational grants to CancerCare by Actinium Pharmaceuticals and Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
For more information on AML and AML Awareness Month, please visit: www.cancercare.org/amlaware.
Founded in 1944, CancerCare is the leading national organization providing free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical and financial challenges of cancer. CancerCare's comprehensive services include counseling and support groups over the phone, online and in-person, educational workshops, publications and financial and co-payment assistance. All CancerCare services are provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts. Headquartered in New York, NY, CancerCare maintains three additional locations in Norwalk, CT, Ridgewood, NJ and Syosset, NY.
To learn more, visit www.cancercare.org or call 800-813-HOPE (4673).
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