The U.S. House of Representatives today passed House Resolution 1433, declaring September 2010 as 'Blood Cancer Awareness Month.' The resolution helps raise awareness and support for issues affecting blood cancer patients within the halls of the Capitol.
"Awareness Month is an opportunity to increase the public's understanding of blood cancers and encourage people to support the funding of research to find cures and education programs to help patients have the best possible outcomes throughout their cancer experience," explained John Walter, president and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society would like to thank Representatives Walter Jones and Betsey Markey for introducing and supporting this resolution, and all of our volunteers who called and emailed their representatives to urge their support."
Remarkable progress has been made in treating patients with blood cancers. Sixty years ago there were few effective treatments for children or adults with blood cancer and the rate of survival was very low. Today, about 75 percent of children with acute leukemia and nearly 80 percent of children and adults with Hodgkin lymphoma are cured. Advances in the treatment of blood cancers have also led to new treatments for other cancers. In fact, in the last decade, 47 percent of new cancer therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were first developed and approved to treat a blood cancer.
Despite these advances, more than 900,000 people in the United States currently have some form of blood cancer and fewer than 50 percent of newly diagnosed patients will survive five years past that diagnosis. Every ten minutes someone dies from a blood cancer and more than 53,000 will die from one this year.
"Congress has been supportive of issues affecting blood cancers in the past," said Walter, "and we thank them for that support. But more needs to be done to fight these deadly diseases – increased research funding, access to affordable treatments, and improved care planning for survivors, just to name a few issues that need to be addressed."
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society