Common facts about blood cancers
1. Blood cancers are not that rare. Each year in the USA, 10% of new cancer cases are blood cancers, with estimated 20,000 new blood cancer patients. An estimated 1 million people in the USA are living with or in remission from blood cancers.
2. There are many types of Leukemia. 90% of kids diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoma Leukemia) can be cured. The five-year survival rates for some type of Leukemia, e.g. AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia), are still 30% or lower.
3. How to match the donor with the recipient? For blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants, what matters is the best possible match between the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue characteristics from the donor and patient. A perfect match is very complicated to find. We usually say a 9/10 or 10/10 match is a good match.
4. A person must be at least 18 to donate because the donation is a medical procedure and the person must be able to give legal informed consent. Also, because it’s a voluntary procedure a guardian or parent can’t sign a release or give consent for someone under age 18.
5. The following categories of people are also NOT qualified as marrow donors: People who are 60 years old; Diabetes requiring insulin or injectable medication; Multiple concussions or head injuries; History of heart surgery or heart disease.