November is National Bone Marrow Awareness Month
Did you know?
- Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets
- Bone marrow transplant patients need platelet donations from about 120 people and red blood cells from about 20 people.
- Platelets support blood clotting and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live.
In cancers that affect the bone marrow, normal production of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets is often decreased. The crowding out of your blood producing cells by the cancer cells causes this. In many cases, blood cancer patients have low cell counts before they even begin treatment for their disease.
Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also cause a decrease in your blood cell counts. Unfortunately, cancer treatments cannot tell the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells. So, while the therapy is killing the leukemia or lymphoma cells in your marrow, it is also killing blood producing stem cells as well.
What can you do?
- Join the Be the Match Registry, to save a life! Click to see if you are a candidate to join the national registry, you never know whose life you might save!
- Donate blood regularly. In order to have a marrow transplant, a patient requires regular blood donations. Without our regular blood donors, local Leukemia patients would not be able to receive life-saving treatments or a transplant. Click here to find a blood drive or center near you.
- Become an advocate. If you are unable to donate, you can still save lives! Recruit donors, sponsor a blood drive, and talk about the importance of blood donation. 17 percent of non-donors cite “never thought about it” as the main reason for not giving, so let’s give them something to think about!