Over 1.3 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually in India, and over 850,000 succumb to it. Even if cancer has not affected you personally, do not downplay your efforts in giving a helping hand. Blood cancer is one of the most deadly cancers globally, with lower survival rates even after treatment. If you think that there is nothing you can do to save the situation, think again. Cancer research is constantly evolving and making progress, and the organizations dedicating their resources to finding cures need your help. Hospitals and non-profit organizations are jointly calling for assistance on all fronts. There are certain awareness months when the public is sensitized about cancer and calls for donations. The best way to join the fight against cancer is by donating blood. Take a look at other ways you can make your efforts count.
Even though cancer research needs more financial donations to support the people and programs, blood donations are valuable. Cancer patients in BLK-MAX Super Speciality hospital and across cancer hospitals in India are in dire need of blood, considering the numerous blood transfusions required during blood cancer treatment. This blood is also used in scientific research to develop more treatment options like stem cell treatment. Blood donations are categorized as follows;
- Whole-blood donation
Here, you donate a pint of blood collected through a vein in the arm. It is the most common type of donation and can be done every 56 days for a maximum of six times a year.
- Platelets donation
Blood donations also include platelet donation, which is responsible for clotting to stop bleeding. This process is long and can take around two hours. A machine is connected to both arms where it draws blood, separates the platelets, and sends blood back into your body. Platelet donations can be made once a week at BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital.
Bone Marrow Donations
Today, the threat of blood cancer is diminishing with the advent of newer blood cancer treatment methods due to the untiring work of scientists and researchers across the globe. For example, a bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, is a treatment method that has the potential to cure most forms of cancer and increase survival rates. Some patients have been completely cured of the diseases from scientific research, which is a very encouraging sign.
By donating bone marrow, you are helping scientists improve their approach to stem cell blood cancer treatment. The bone marrow is a spongy material found inside the bones and contains stem cells that form blood within the body. Unfortunately, blood cancer inhibits the growth of these cells, meaning the patients will need a bone marrow transplant.
A bone marrow transplant replaces the cancerous bone marrow, allowing healthy stem cells to grow. Stem cells can be donated through a blood draw or surgically. Surgical bone marrow donation is usually made in an operating room where surgeons use needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the pelvic bone. If you are up for the task, this is your chance to give blood cancer patients hope for life and help them recover.
Researching with tissue is beneficial for finding ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Biospecimen donations can help improve cancer research to develop cures for blood cancer treatment. These could be blood, urine, tissue, cells, protein, DNA, RNA, etc. Samples are collected from people with cancer and those without. Donating biospecimen can be done at any cancer center near you, and your doctor will tell you about its advantages. The biospecimen helps researchers understand the biology of blood cancer. They can use the information to learn about the growth and spreading of cancer, how different groups respond to medication, and new ways to treat and prevent cancer.
Taking Part In Research Studies
Cancer research studies are available to cancer patients and people who do not have cancer. There are many ways to be part of the studies. They include;
- Cancer prevention trials where experiments are conducted to find ways of preventing people from cancer. These studies also lower the chances of vulnerable people getting it.
- Participating in studies that focus on a group of people on an ongoing basis to study their cancer outcomes.
- Being part of cancer screening research to find new ways of detecting cancer before it spreads further.
Volunteers, survivors, cancer patients, and their families can participate in raising awareness and call for support for cancer treatments. In addition, you can call on the government, non-profit organizations, and stakeholders to invest heavily in blood cancer treatments by being a cancer advocate. The research should also focus on patient wellbeing and outcome. Advocacy also ensures that scientific advances are guided towards newer and better prevention, detection, and treatment methods for cancer.
You can advocate by;
- Joining a formal advisory board
- Work on cancer research initiatives
- Communicating research findings to the public
There are many other ways you can contribute to research to find a cure for cancer. By taking part in any of the ones mentioned above, you will be making an impact. You can visit the BLK-MAX Super Speciality hospital cancer center to discuss your involvement. Their cancer specialists can help you collaborate with NGOs that focus on cancer research and treatment.