Why support blood cancers?

Per the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, four treatments that are now standard therapies for patients with multiple myeloma are being explored as treatments for more than 30 other cancers. Research in this area is providing for innovative, ground breaking therapies for many diseases. Your donations enable more rapid development of the next generation of treatments for multiple myeloma, and providing a blueprint for translational initiatives that can serve as models for advancing research in other cancers and diseases.

About Multiple Myeloma

Myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cells, which most often presents itself in the bone marrow. Plasma cells help the body's immune system fight disease by producing antibodies. In multiple myeloma patients, plasma cells grow out of control and form tumors in the bone marrow. The excess growth of plasma cells interferes with the body's ability to make red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, causing anemia and making a person more likely to get infections and have abnormal bleeding. As the cancer cells grow in the bone marrow, they can cause pain and destruction of the bones. If the bones in the spine are affected, it can put pressure on the nerves, resulting in numbness or paralysis. Symptoms of Myeloma including bleeding problems, bone or back pain, increased susceptibility to infection, symptoms of anemia (such as tiredness, shortness of breath, and fatigue) and unexplained bone fractures. Survival of people with multiple myeloma depends on the patient's age and the stage of disease. Some cases are very aggressive, while others have lived with the disease for over 20 years. The five-year relative survival rate is about 38 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers.

About Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of blood cells, usually white blood cells. Leukemia is subdivided into acute and chronic forms. Acute leukemia is characterized by the rapid increase of immature blood cells. This crowding makes the bone marrow unable to produce healthy blood cells. Immediate treatment is required in acute leukemia due to the rapid progression and accumulation of the malignant cells, which then spill over into the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body. Acute forms of leukemia are the most common forms of leukemia in children. Chronic leukemia is distinguished by the excessive build up of relatively mature, but still abnormal, white blood cells. Typically taking months or years to progress, the cells are produced at a much higher rate than normal cells, resulting in many abnormal white blood cells in the blood. Whereas acute leukemia must be treated immediately, chronic forms are sometimes monitored for some time before treatment to ensure maximum effectiveness of therapy. Chronic leukemia mostly occurs in older people, but can theoretically occur in any age group. Tiredness or no energy, shortness of breath during physical activity, pale skin, mild fever or night sweats, slow healing of cuts and excess bleeding, black-and-blue marks (bruises) for no clear reason, pinhead-size red spots under the skin, aches in bones or joints (for example, knees, hips or shoulders) and low white cell counts are just some of the symptoms of Leukemia.

About Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a treatable cancer that begins in the lymphatic cells of the immune system, which is made up of many cells and organs, including lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen, and liver. The lymphatic system produces B-Cells and T-Cells, which make up your body's immune system. Since these cells travel between the lymphatic and circulatory system while fighting infections and viruses, lymphomas are blood-related cancers. There are two main categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin's lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). Hodgkin's disease is a very specific type of cancer that involves a mutation in Reed-Sternberg cells. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas involve mutations in the body's B-Cells and T-Cells. Lymphoma typically presents as a solid tumor of lymphoid cells. Typical symptoms of lymphoma include painless swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin; fever and/or night sweats, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, chest pain and loss of appetite.

For more information about these diseases and the excellent research being conducted to find a cure, please visit:

International Myeloma Foundation: http://myeloma.org
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: http://www.leukemia.org
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation: http://www.themmrf.org/
The Helene Whitman Memorial Cancer Fund
29 Hance Road, Fair Haven, NJ 07704 hwmcfund@gmail.com