This Week’s Mission Moment
September is Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma Awareness Month
Tremendous advances have been made to treat blood cancer but the battle is far from won.
White Plains, NY (August 25, 2011) – Remarkable progress has been made in treating patients with blood cancers, with survival rates for many having doubled or tripled, and in some cases quadrupled since The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) was founded in 1949.
“I have personally seen the progress in cure rates and treatments from when I experienced leukemia in 1994,” says survivor Nikki Henshaw. “These changes have dramatically improved the quality of life for those who are battling cancer.”
Survival rates for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer, have risen over the past 40 years from 3% to approximately 90% today; Hodgkin lymphoma patient survival rates have doubled to 86% since the 1960s, and the five-year survival rate has increased from 25% in the mid-seventies to 41% for all myeloma patients, and patients diagnosed in the last decade had a 50% improvement in overall survival.
Yet, more than 1 million North Americans are fighting blood cancers, the third leading cause of cancer death. Every four minutes someone in North America is diagnosed with a blood a cancer, and every ten minutes someone dies.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is a beacon of help and guidance to those touched by blood cancer and each September LLS observes Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma Awareness Month, to shed light on these diseases and let the public know that there are resources available for blood cancer patients and their families.
“Awareness Month is an opportunity to increase the public’s understanding of blood cancers and encourage people to support the funding of research to find cures and education programs to help patients have the best possible outcomes throughout their cancer experience,” said LLS President and CEO John Walter.
Since its inception in 1949, LLS has invested more than $814 million in research to find cures and better therapies. LLS supports investigators’ efforts to find new molecular targets for treatment and potential immunotherapies, and helps them translate their laboratory findings into more effective therapies for patients. Its Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP) is a bold initiative to advance therapies with strong prospect so providing near-term benefit to patients diagnosed with blood cancers.
Through its patient services programs, LLS offers a comprehensive array of education and support services to blood cancer patients and their families. There are family support groups, free patient education workshops featuring health experts, and First Connection – a peer-to-peer support program that matches newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteer survivors. A back to school program help children treated for cancer transition back to school. LLS also provides financial assistance to patients with significant financial need and an insurance co-pay assistance program.