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May is Myeloma Awareness Month

Five Australians will be told today they have the blood cancer myeloma.

The Leukaemia Foundation, in conjunction with Myeloma Australia, will host free educational seminars across Australia as part of Myeloma Awareness Month this May, as it commits to raising more awareness around the disease, which saw a 35 per cent rise in disease incidence in the past decade alone.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said there are nearly 19,002 people diagnosed with myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, every single year and 95 per cent are aged over 50.

“When you consider Australia’s population is aging, there is a real concern for people diagnosed with myeloma into the future,” Mr Petch said.

Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a blood cancer which affects the body’s plasma cells, the cells that produce antibodies.

Myeloma develops when these plasma cells undergo a cancerous change and become myeloma cells, multiplying at an increased rate and take over the bone marrow. As a result, bones can become weaker and break more easily. Patients also experience anaemia, bone pain, kidney damage, frequent infections and increased bleeding and bruising.

The disease typically starts in the bone marrow, and patients can often have no symptoms in the early stages, but the disease can be picked up with a routine blood test. The most common symptom is bone pain, usually felt in the lower back or ribs.

Mr Petch said the Leukaemia Foundation is committed to funding innovative treatments which will help lead clinicians to better treatment outcomes and survivability rates for Australians living with the disease.

“Since 2002 we have committed more than $47 million to blood cancer research, including funding myeloma research project and the careers of early researchers,” Mr Petch said.

Throughout Myeloma Awareness Month this May, the Leukaemia Foundation will host a series of free Myeloma Information Seminars across Australia in most capital cities.

The sessions, nationally will not only have expert speakers outlining what is new or upcoming in treating myeloma which provides hope but also expert sessions that support how those living with myeloma can take charge in their everyday to live with myeloma.

For more information contact or phone 1800 620 420.