September is blood cancer awareness month. Despite being the fourth most-commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Canada, most Canadians cannot correctly identify any blood cancer with the exception of leukemia.
With as many as 137 different types of blood cancers and related disorders, it is not surprising that awareness of blood cancers among Canadians tends to be low.
There are three main types of blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and two groups of related disorders – chronic myeloproliferative diseases (MPN) and myelodsplastic disorders (MDS).
More than 138,000 Canadians are living with blood cancers, which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Moncton, N.B. Despite the significant impact of blood cancers in Canada, survival rates are lower than that of most of the other top five cancers.
With no means of screening or preventing most blood cancers there is an urgent, unmet need to advance understanding and treatment of blood cancers. Results from a recent Omnibus survey underscore the lack of awareness around these types of cancer. An estimated 22 per cent of respondents didn’t know which cancers are blood cancers. Only 17 per cent could identify lymphoma as a blood cancer and less than 10 per cent, myeloma and MDS; whereas 64 per cent knew leukemia was a type of blood cancer.
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