You Can help save a life-become a Stem cell or Bone Marrow Donor.
Approximately every 3 minutes in the US, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer. Approximately every 10 minutes, someone dies. Right now, some patients from our community are battling life threatening diseases like leukemia. Some patients however can be cured, with a marrow/blood stem cell transplant.
The South Asian population (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) in the US is rapidly increasing. South Asians are not immune to illness and increasingly diagnosed with cancer both young, middle aged and the elderly. While treatments are effective in most diseases, South Asians diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia are at a critical disadvantage and often succumb to the disease. The reason is a bone marrow match must be located for a transplant.
The odds of finding a fully matched donor depend on the patient’s ethnic heritage. About one-third of patients can find a match among their siblings, while two-thirds have to depend on the generosity of unrelated donors. The problem arises as minorities are vastly underrepresented in the national registry and account for only 6 % of the 13.5 million total number of registered individuals. There are only about 800,000 people of Asian ancestry registered on the "Be The Match® national registry".
Finding an unrelated donor for a South Asian patient is a daunting task and has been described as “ like finding a needle in a haystack,” . How can we help to prevent needless deaths from blood cancers? We need everyone, who is 18 to 44 years old, to commit to registering. Registering is simple – just a swab of the inside of your cheek.
Find a registration drive in your area with one of the following organizations.
- www.samarinfo.org , Contact: email@example.com, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SAMARINFO
Committed donors are needed! Did you know almost 50% of minority donors refuse to donate after being informed they are a potential match to a patient? We need to change this statistic.
WHAT IF I AM A MATCH?
You will be contacted to give a small blood sample for further testing to confirm you are a good match and to make sure you are healthy enough to donate. Then you will have to complete a physical exam and a counseling session. If you are chosen, there are two methods of donation:
PBSC can be the first option since the process is done 70-80% of the time and Marrow Harvesting the second option in 20-25% of the time.
PBSC - The blood stem cells are taken from your blood stream through your arm. Prior to this collection, a medicine (Filgrastim) is taken to increase the blood stem cells. During the donation, the blood is drawn from one arm into a machine which collects the blood stem cells and the remaining blood is returned to the other arm. There is no blood loss.
Marrow Harvesting - 3-5% of your blood stem cells are removed from your hip area under anesthesia (The donor decides if it general or local). The body regenerates it in a few weeks. There is no pain during the procedure because of the anesthesia. The most common complaint is soreness at the site of the extraction for a few days. Pain medicine is given as needed. Only done 22% of the time.