NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blood cancer is the second leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States. To lend greater awareness to a solution to this issue, Delete Blood Cancer DKMS proudly announces that November is Bone Marrow Awareness Month. Blood cancer refers to cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. Notably this will be cancer such as leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma. Many patients diagnosed with one of these diseases will need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, and in the U.S., this number accounts for approximately 7,500 people searching the registry at any given time. With only 30 percent of patients able to find a donor within their families, 70 percent of patients will require a transplant from an unrelated donor.
Delete Blood Cancer's mission is to save lives by recruiting more registered donors to serve as potential lifesavers to patients in need. The largest bone marrow donor center in the world, Delete Blood Cancer's database contains more than 3.7 million registered donors. More than 37,000 DKMS donors have helped save lives by donating their bone marrow or stem cells.
Katharina Harf, co-founder of Delete Blood Cancer, began supporting the cause early when her mother was diagnosed with an acute form of blood cancer and could not find a donor match. This experience sparked a desire in Katharina to help build the registry of potential donors in the United States. "I have to believe that this dream to provide every person in need of a donor match with one will come true, because otherwise, why dream?"
In honor of this extraordinary month of awareness, Delete Blood Cancer is calling on people to register as a potential lifesaver to help give one of the 150,000 Americans diagnosed with a blood cancer each year another chance. "There are many misconceptions regarding bone marrow donation but the reality is there is a viable solution to help people; through the act of donation a meaningful contribution and life saving act is achieved," says Katharina.
How to Join:
Any race, gender, or ethnic group between the ages 18 to 55 can join, as long as they are in good health and have not been treated for serious medical conditions previously. This is a major commitment and if selected you have the chance to serve as a lifesaver for someone that desperately needs it.
Visit www.DeleteBloodCancer.org and register online; we'll mail a swab kit for tissue typing to your home, which then gets mailed back to us. We identify your tissue type and this information is then placed into the national registry to serve as a potential match for a patient.
If Selected as a Match:
If you're determined a match for a patient, you will be called by Delete Blood Cancer for more detailed blood work. If these results show that you are a strong match for the patient, Delete Blood Cancer, in coordination with a bone marrow transplant center will make arrangements for your donation. This can be done in two ways, which is determined by the patient's doctor:
Peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC): after taking a medication for five days that boosts the number of stem cells in the marrow the stem cells are collected by a process called apheresis. A sterile needle is placed in a vein in each arm; the blood is then slowly removed, through the apheresis machine where the stem cells are collected, then your blood is returned to your body through the second needle in the other arm.
Bone marrow: after anesthesia, the liquid bone marrow is drawn out of the backside of the pelvic bone. No pain is experienced during the marrow extraction and your bone marrow quickly will regenerate within a few weeks.
Other Ways to Help:
If you are unable to become a donor, you can still help patients:
- Provide a financial contribution to Delete Blood Cancer to continue our mission to register new donors at: https://www.deletebloodcancer.org/donate.html.
- Organize your own local donor drive and spread the word in your community: http://www.deletebloodcancer.org/recruit/register-others.html.
About Delete Blood Cancer
Delete Blood Cancer DKMS started with one family's search for a bone marrow donor and is today part of the world's largest bone marrow donor center. We have helped register more than 3.7 million potential donors and facilitated over 37,000 life-saving transplants around the world. But we're not stopping there. Every day we lead the fight against blood cancer by working with families, communities and organizations to recruit more donors and provide more patients with second chances at life.
For more information or to register as a bone marrow donor, please visit DeleteBloodCancer.org.
SOURCE Delete Blood Cancer DKMS