Over 1.2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with blood cancer yearly, accounting for roughly 6% of all cancer cases and 720,000 deaths. In the USA alone, that equates to one person diagnosed every ~3 minutes and one death every ~9 minutes.
These haematologic cancers are divided into three main subtypes. In order of global prevalence, they are:
- Lymphoma (~50%): Develops in the lymphatic system
- Leukaemia (~37%): Located in bone marrow and blood due to excessive abnormal white blood cell production
- Multiple Myeloma (~13%): Formed by malignant plasma cells, generally in bone marrow
Other variants include Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPN), though they’re among over 100 rarer types of blood cancer.
Despite the mortality numbers and global reach, survival rates have in fact quadrupled since the 1960’s. As Professor Robin Foà, Professor of Hematology at “Sapienza” University of Rome, says:
“The cure rates for patients with haematological malignancies are constantly improving. A close interaction between the clinic and the laboratory is required for a rapid and precise diagnostic and prognostic work-up of patients and for always more personalized and targeted treatment strategies during the follow-up.”
But these numbers show we still have a way to go – which is why Blood Cancer Awareness Month throughout September is so important to educate more people on symptoms and treatments.
In the UK, for instance, Blood Cancer UK found that over half of adults cannot name any symptoms of blood cancer, which include:
- Unexplained weight loss, bruising, bleeding, fever, rash
- Lumps or swellings
- Extreme night sweats
- Persistent, recurrent or severe infections
- Joint, bone or stomach pain
- Persistent fatigue
Alongside sharing what to look out for, greater awareness will also help to further the research to help beat blood cancers altogether.
Examples of the latest research include:
- Current and future therapies for marginal zone Lymphoma READ NOW
- Oral therapies for Multiple Myeloma READ NOW
touchONCOLOGY supports Blood Cancer Awareness Month and its global effort to educate more people on the symptoms and treatments available for blood cancer. Learn about blood cancer by visiting our library of video interviews, conference highlights, journal articles, and clinical trial updates.
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