National Blood Cancer Awareness Month is Nearly Over. Here’s How to Keep the Momentum Going.
September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month–it’s a reminder to think about the people who either are currently battling this disease or are in remission and to raise awareness of the ongoing efforts to defeat all forms of blood cancer.
In Colorado, many people have developed blood cancer after being exposed to ethylene oxide (EtO), a chemical used to sterilize medical equipment. The medical sterilization process at Terumo BCT, a medical device manufacturing company headquartered in Lakewood, CO, has been reported to emit unsafe levels of ethylene oxide (EtO).
The Lakewood community has a substantially higher risk of developing blood cancer due to these emissions.
The Colorado ethylene oxide exposure attorneys with Zaner Harden Law are ready to help if you live or work in Lakewood and you’ve been diagnosed with blood cancer. Please contact us online or give us a call at 720-594-6256 for your free case evaluation.
Blood Cancer Diagnoses in Colorado
There are more than 178,500 new diagnoses of blood cancer each year, resulting in nearly 57,000 deaths annually. In Colorado alone there are approximately 2,550 new cases of blood cancer diagnosed each year.
There are three main types of blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Unlike most forms of cancer which form tumors, blood cancers damage the cells in the blood, lymph nodes, and bone marrow where blood cancer typically originates. The damaged cells multiply, eventually affecting the normal, healthy cells.
EtO has been found to contribute to the three main types of blood cancer because it binds to DNA and strips cells of their ability to make proteins. While cells generally recognize changes and adjust to them to protect themselves, they’re unable to adjust or protect against EtO.
Leukemia develops when the body produces white blood cells that are unable to fight off infections. Although there are several types of leukemia, below is a look at the most common four types that are associated with EtO emissions.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) causes the body to produce too many lymphocytes which are white blood cells found in bone marrow. The lymphocytes overtake healthy white blood cells, causing serious problems.
Although ALL is the most commonly associated with childhood cancer because it is the most common form of childhood cancer, it’s also associated with EtO emissions in persons of any age.
Acute and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
Myeloid stem cells develop into red blood cells, some white blood cells, and platelets. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) often starts in the bone marrow where blood is formed then moves out into the blood, disrupting the standard development of myeloid stem cells, preventing the body from producing enough healthy cells and platelets.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is similar to AML, however it develops at a much faster rate and men have a slightly higher risk of CML compared to women.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of leukemia that affects adults, also begins in the bone marrow. Many people with CLL won’t start to show symptoms for years, which is why diagnoses are common in the elderly.
A lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, an integral part of the body’s germ-fighting system. The main forms of lymphoma, both of which have been linked to EtO exposure, are Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Both of these types of lymphoma cause the lymph nodes to grow at significant rates and swell, negatively impacting the body’s ability to fight against infection.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually starts in B lymphocytes which make proteins to help the body fight against bacteria and viruses.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is more common than Hodgkin’s lymphoma and can start in B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes, some which are intended to destroy abnormal cells in the body (including bacteria and viruses) and others which are supposed to either boost or slow the activity of other cells in the immune system.
Myeloma affects the plasma cells in bone marrow that develop antibodies. The damaged cells overtake healthy blood cells, damaging bones in the process. While these cells can still produce antibodies, they aren’t able to fight infections.
Myeloma typically affects men over age 50, but those who are obese and those with relatives who had Myeloma are also at risk of this caner.
Ways to Recognize Blood Cancer Awareness Month
There are a lot of ways to help raise awareness of blood cancer and help fund research into the disease. Here are just a few to consider.
Light it Red for Lymphoma
This is an effort to make lymphoma “visible,” in a manner of speaking, by lighting buildings around the country in red. You can replace the outdoor lights with red bulbs at your home, or you can talk to a manager or someone in building maintenance at your work to discuss the possibility of adding red lights.
Raise Vital Funds at the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s Annual Gala
The Lymphoma Research Foundation holds a fundraising gala every year which attracts healthcare professionals, research scientists, lymphoma survivors, and many others to raise funds for research and to help those who have been affected by the disease. If you’re unable to attend the gala, you can donate through their website.
Become a Blood Stem Cell Donor
Donating stem cells is a safe procedure that could help save someone’s life. To learn more, including if you qualify as a donor, contact Be the Match.
Diagnosed with Blood Cancer due to EtO Emissions? We Can Help.
If you believe you developed cancer due to ethylene oxide exposure, please get in touch with us as soon as you can. Use our online form or call (720) 613-9706 for a free consultation.
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