Blood cancer claiming the lives of more Queenslanders than breast and skin cancer

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Blood cancers are killing more Queenslanders than breast cancer and skin cancer, according to surprising new statistics.

The most recent data available shows blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma claimed the lives of 4,094 Australians in 2013, compared to the 2,892 people who died from breast cancer and 2,209 who died from melanoma.

In Queensland alone, blood cancers were responsible for 744 deaths in 2013, compared to 565 and 405 deaths from breast cancer and skin cancer respectively.

It means Australians are nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to die from blood cancers compared to breast cancer and nearly twice as likely to die from blood cancers compared to melanoma.

In what may come as a surprise to many, blood cancers are in fact the third biggest cause of cancer death in Australia, behind only lung and bowel cancer.

Each day 31 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Petch warned these figures will continue to climb unless more is done to find better treatments.

“Every 46 minutes someone in Australia is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and every two hours someone loses their life,” Mr Petch said.

“Although more children are surviving, many people don’t realise that 4 in 10 Australian adults diagnosed with this terrible disease will die,” he said.

“We simply cannot afford to let the rates of diagnosis and mortality continue to increase.”

Beating blood cancers

Changing these figures is an urgent priority for the Leukaemia Foundation, and is working with world-class researchers and scientists to find new and innovative treatment options for those who need it the most.

The Leukaemia Foundation, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, recently announced its Trials Enabling Program – the first of its kind in Australia – which gives blood cancer patients access to potentially lifesaving medicines from around the world.

Unfortunately only a small proportion of international trials are available in Australia because of the high cost of bringing them into the country.

Partnering with the nation’s leading blood cancer clinical trial group, the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group, the Trials Enabling Program allows patients access to the very best treatments, in the most cost-effective way.

“We aren’t funded directly by the government and desperately need Queenslanders to help us beat blood cancers,” he said.

“Every dollar donated today, brings us closer to the cures of tomorrow.”

After losing their only daughter to lymphoma just after her 17th birthday, Tom and Lindy Barton said it means a lot to them and the memory of their daughter, that the Leukaemia Foundation is working to help those impacted by blood cancer.

“It gives people real hope, knowing that there are people dedicated to beating this. Even though we lost our beautiful girl Carly, we’re hopeful the Leukaemia Foundation’s work means more happy outcomes for others going through similar things to what we did,” Lindy said.

How you can help

Help the #31Aussies diagnosed every day with a blood cancer by making a donation todayYour generosity helps the Leukaemia Foundation help those who need it the most through free support services and investing in research to find better treatments and work towards a cure.

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