Myeloma Awareness Month 2020
May is Myeloma Awareness Month and the Leukaemia Foundation shone a spotlight on the blood cancer that affects 18,000 Australians.
We’re bracing for a steep rise in the number of Australians living with myeloma, with diagnosis rates on track to more than double in the next 15 years.
In this year’s Myeloma Month, we provided a series of free webinars presented by specialists and people with a lived experience of myeloma.
What is myeloma?
Around 18,000 Australians are currently living with myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, which is a complex and relatively rare blood cancer affecting the body’s plasma cells, the cells that produce antibodies. Myeloma develops when plasma cells undergo a cancerous change to become myeloma cells, multiplying at an increasing rate and taking over the bone marrow.
Myeloma most commonly occurs in people aged 40 and older, and it is slightly more prevalent in men. Patients experience weaker bones more prone to breaking, as well as anaemia, bone pain, kidney damage, frequent infections and increased bleeding and bruising.
Just over 2,000 people are diagnosed each year, however it is expected that will increase to almost 5,000 people by 2035. Sadly, 1,098 Australians lose their life to myeloma each year, and this is projected to rise to 3,037 by 2035.
Tale of the ‘terrible twosome’
Rita and Kellie – affectionately known as ‘the terrible twosome’ – have a myeloma diagnosis in common. Since meeting at a support group in 2018, they’ve walked similar paths however, these strong women are proof that no two diagnoses are ever the same. They’ve had vastly different experiences but throughout it all, they’ve had each other.
You can read their full story here.
Myeloma Awareness Month 2020 webinars
Four new webinars are now available to you, featuring myeloma specialists and people with a lived experience covering topics such as the latest treatments, fatigue management and emotional well-being.
Dr Hasib Sidiqi discusses updates on treatment options for myeloma in Australia, outlining the current and possible future therapies utilised for early right through to advanced disease.
Jacqui Baverstock, Blood Cancer Support Coordinator with the Leukaemia Foundation, sits down for a virtual chat with Patsy Wood. Patsy was diagnosed with myeloma back in 2004 at the age of 45 and has experienced the highs and lows of a blood cancer diagnosis.
In this presentation, Exercise Physiologist Morgan Atkinson discusses fatigue how it relates to cancer, as well as providing some helpful tips for exercise.
Tim Murphy, General Manager Blood Cancer Partnerships at the Leukaemia Foundation, updates you about the progress of the important new National Action Plan for Blood Cancer.