September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, aimed at supporting patients affected by a blood cancer (for example Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma).

Raising awareness about blood cancers and gaining community involvement is essential for vital research that investigates new technologies for early detection and explores prevention and novel treatment options. Undoubtedly, it is due to advancements in technology and medical procedures that the five-year survival rate for Leukaemia has quadrupled since the 1960s.

Main types of blood cancers

Leukaemia – affects the white blood cells and blood-forming tissues of the body, including bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Some forms are more common in children and other types occur mainly in adults.

Lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system. This is the body’s germ-fighting network, comprising of the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland and bone marrow. Lymphoma can affect any of these as well as other organs throughout the body. The two main types are Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Myeloma – develops in the plasma cell, which is a type of white blood cell. Plasma cells are important to help fight infections as they make antibodies which identify and attack germs. Multiple myeloma are cancerous plasma cells that gather in the bone marrow and push out healthy blood cells. The cancer cells produce abnormal proteins which may cause complications.

Did you know: Australians and blood cancer

  • Blood cancers can affect any person at any age.
  • In 2021, it was expected that 18,485 Australians would be diagnosed with a blood cancer such as Leukaemia, Lymphoma or Myeloma i.e. 50 people per day
  • In 2022, it is estimated that the number of Australians diagnosed with a blood cancer will increase to 19,403 Australians i.e. approx. 53 people per day.
  • The incidence of blood cancer is continuing to grow with a 47% rise in the last decade.

Perth Blood Institute’s (PBI) Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) recognise the importance of new technologies and treatments to address blood cancers. Currently they are involved in clinical trials for some different types of Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Leukaemia and Multiple myeloma. Visit PBI's website to read information about our current clinical trials.

Did you know: Living with a blood cancer

Giovanni and George have Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; Ashley is living with Mantle cell lymphoma; and Elie was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To learn more about living with a blood cancer, go to their stories.