Leukemia Awareness Month is marked every September, as a way to honor those who are fighting the disease, those who survived, and those who lost their battle. It’s a time to encourage education about the disease, its impacts, and methods of prevention—all in an effort to pay tribute to the courage it takes to confront the illness.
Stay Informed DuringLeukemia Awareness Month
Here are five things to know about the disease so that you can do your part this Leukemia Awareness Month to fight its spread:
- Leukemia is cancer of the blood-forming tissues, including bone barrow, that leads to abnormalities in the white blood cells. Its name is derived from the Greek meaning for “white blood,” leading researchers to believe the disease has been recognized for more than 1,500 years.
- Anyone is susceptible to leukemia, but it particularly occurs in older and younger patients. It is, unfortunately, the most common cancer in those under 15.
- Red flags for leukemia include abnormal white blood cell counts, easy bruising, night sweats, fatigue, joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. Diagnosis usually centers on bloodwork.
- The prognosis for leukemia patients has improved drastically in recent years, with the overall five-year survival rate tripling to more than 60% in the last 40 years. There have been particular strides made in treating pediatric leukemia; more than 80% of children diagnosed with leukemia now live at least five years, a figure that was only at 10% just four decades ago.
- Leukemia Awareness Month is signified by the color orange. Throughout September, those whose lives have been touched by the disease, as well as healthcare professionals and organizations around the world, wear orange ribbons, organize awareness-raising events, and promote detection and prevention strategies. Leukemia Awareness Month is also a time for healthcare organizations to undertake fundraising efforts to advance research into the disease, so keep an eye out for local events and campaigns that you can support.
This Leukemia Awareness Month, take time to learn about the disease and its impact, and share these facts with your loved ones. The more people who understand what the condition is, the better prepared everyone will be to recognize it early and seek treatment.