Honor Blood Cancer Awareness Month This September
This September marks the 11th anniversary of Blood Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). September is a dedicated time for supporters and activists of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)– both locally and nationally– to raise awareness, education, and funds in the effort to support those suffering from blood cancer. Blood cancer is the disfunction of normal blood cell growth in the bone marrow, leading to the irregular function of the body. The abnormal growth of these blood cells prevents the body from performing many basic functions, such as fighting off infections and preventing blood clots.
A Closer Look at Blood Cancer
Blood cancer is the 3rd deadliest form of cancer worldwide, yet many people have little awareness of what blood cancer is, what it can look like, and what measures may help in beating the disease.
There are 3 primary types of blood cancer– Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma. Leukemia is the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells in the blood and bone marrow. These abnormal blood cells overwhelm healthy cells, resulting in improper and ineffective immune responses. Lymphoma is cancer occurring within the lymph nodes and affects the production of normal white blood cells, called lymphocytes. The lymphatic system collects excess lymph fluid and circulates it through the lymph vessels while also transporting healthy lymphocytes throughout the bloodstream. This aids in the removal of bacteria and abnormal cell growth. The irregular transportation of lymph fluid and lymphocytes leads to the creation of cancerous white blood cells (lymphoma cells), that then multiply and gather within the lymph nodes, creating impairments and bacterial retention in the immune system. Myeloma is cancer within plasma cells. Functioning plasma cells help fight diseases and produce bacteria-killing antibodies. Cancerous cellular growth within the plasma prevents the production of normal antibodies, resulting in a weakened immune system.
World Lymphoma Awareness Day
September 15th is World Lymphoma Awareness Day. This day was first declared in 2004 by the Lymphoma Coalition, an international non-profit established to raise public awareness of blood cancers such as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Every 7 minutes, someone within the U.S. is diagnosed with lymphoma, which is known to be the most common type of blood cancer in adults while also being the third most common cancer in children. Lymphoma is most often diagnosed in people ages 15 to 35, as well as people over the age of 50. Further research has led to many advances and treatments of Hodgkin Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Support Those Impacted by ‘Lighting it Red’
In observance of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, supporters spread awareness by participating in the Light it Red for Lymphoma Campaign on September 15th (World Lymphoma Awareness Day). Launched in September of 2011, this campaign encourages the world to join in by wearing red and lighting houses and buildings in red to bring light to the darkness of this disease. Many people around the world partake in this campaign by lighting international buildings and landmarks red in support of those suffering from the disease. Supporters host events with red decorations and people clothed in red to raise awareness of the effects of lymphoma and how others can get involved with this cause. The campaign creates many fundraising opportunities to support innovative research to brighten the future for all affected. This builds a strong support network, aiding in the progression of finding a cure for the lymphoma community.
By honoring Blood Cancer Awareness Month and World Lymphoma Awareness Day, you are supporting further lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research through educational programs, outreach initiatives, and patient services. The key to eradicating this disease is to raise awareness on behalf of those affected by blood cancers, making September an extremely important month for the cancer community.
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