September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month
September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and thanks to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) – the largest nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancers – survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled since 1960. But despite these advances, more than a third of blood cancer patients still do not survive five years after their diagnosis.
These sobering statistics point out the urgent need to get involved in the fight against blood cancer:
Every three minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
Every nine minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer.
Blood cancers are the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.
Today, more than 1.3 million people in the U.S. are living with, or in remission from, a blood cancer.
Blood cancer research has been at the forefront of lifesaving discoveries beginning with chemotherapy and LLS has paved the way for groundbreaking research including immunotherapies, genomics and precision medicine – which emerged from researching blood cells, which are easier to access and study than cancer cells in solid tumors.
“Beating Cancer Is In Our Blood” is a new platform highlighting LLS’s resolve to end blood cancers and showcasing the breakthroughs in blood cancer research which are now saving lives and being tested in clinical trials for other cancers and diseases, such as brain, breast, kidney, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer, as well as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Research breakthroughs in blood cancer treatments are occurring at an ever-increasing rate; last year alone saw 18 new U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for blood cancers, and LLS supported 15 of them.
Emily Dumler from Shawnee, Kansas, a 37-year-old mother of three young children, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in August 2013. After a whirlwind of intense treatments including chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and months of hospitalization, Emily relapsed soon after each treatment and in 2015 was given a devastating prognosis – doctors said she had six months to live. But then, Emily received a glimmer of hope when her doctors told her of a potential new treatment. In July 2015, Emily became the third patient in the world enrolled a clinical trial for CAR T-cell therapy that was made possible by LLS funding. The revolutionary therapy was a success! This CAR T-cell immunotherapy approach, FDA-approved in 2017, is currently being tested on solid tumors. Emily has been in remission for more than two years and is enjoying spending time with her family and sharing her story to help others.
To inspire and encourage others, today Emily is joined by Dr. Gwen Nichols, LLS Chief Medical Officer during Blood Cancer Awareness Month to remind everyone that while breakthrough therapies are saving lives, work still needs to be done to find cures.
If you are a patient or have a loved one living with blood cancer, LLS Information Specialists can provide support. Call 1-800-955-4572.
Gwen Nichols, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. As LLS’s chief medical officer (CMO), Dr. Gwen Nicholsplays a critical role in advancing cures through a unique combination of clinical, academic and pharmaceutical experience. She oversees LLS’s scientific research portfolio, patient services and policy and advocacy initiatives. A physician and scientific researcher, she has dedicated her career to advancing cures for cancers.
Emily Dumler, survivor of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and third patient enrolled in a clinical trial for CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
What are blood cancers and how are they different than other cancers?
Why is Blood Cancer Awareness Month important and what is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) doing to raise awareness, and advance cures?
What are some of the new research breakthroughs in blood cancer treatment and how are these treatments saving patients with other cancers and being tested in clinical trials for other cancer and diseases? Is that what LLS means by “Beating Cancer Is In Our Blood?”
· Tell us about your journey as a blood cancer survivor and how you got involved with LLS?
· What would you say to a family or someone whose loved one was recently diagnosed with a blood cancer? How can people become involved in one of LLS’s fundraising campaigns?
How close are we to blood cancer cures and what does that mean for other cancer patients?
Where can those affected by a blood cancer turn to for support?