There are 36 thousand new cases of leukemia, lymphomas and myelomas every year: thanks to research, patients are now more likely to recover permanently or live (well) with the disease for years
To make people and institutions aware of both onco-haematological diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas and myeloma, and the needs of the sick and family members and encourage medical-scientific research in order to obtain increasingly effective and decisive treatments. It is with these objectives that the month of raising awareness on haematological cancers is celebrated in September which, with 36 thousand new cases diagnosed every year, rank fifth in the ranking of the most frequent in our country. And the number of patients is increasing, both due to the general aging of the population (because cancer is more frequent with advancing age), and because thanks to new therapies the number of those who heal or survive for a long time is growing, with a good quality of life. To inform and bring to light the challenges of clinicians, researchers, patients and caregivers who fight against blood cancer every day, on the occasion of the awareness month, the national campaign “Let’s give a voice to the future”, promoted by Janssen Oncology and sponsored by the Italian Association against leukemia-lymphomas and myeloma (Ail).
Great progress over the past 10 years
There are dozens of different subtypes of hematological malignancies
belonging to three large macro-groups (leukemias, lymphomas and myelomas) which can manifest themselves in an acute (more severe and aggressive) or chronic form. The progress made in the last ten years by research in hematology has been important, so much so that today about 40% of patients can aspire to recovery and, in many other cases, they can live well for years with the disease. “Scientific research is of fundamental importance: innovative therapies have significantly improved long-term survival in many blood cancers – underlines Paolo Corradini, director of the Hematology Division of the IRCCS National Cancer Institute of Milan and Chair of Hematology in Milan. University of Milan -. Today with the new drugs and the most advanced cell therapies such as ATMP – Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product, such as CAR-T therapy, results can be obtained that were not imaginable only 10 years ago: they allow you to treat and perhaps even heal adults and children with certain types of blood cancer that didn’t leave a chance until recently. ”Among blood cancers, leukemias are certainly the best known. In Italy, about 8,000 new diagnoses of leukemia, 2,150 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 13,200 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, about 3,020 of myeloma were expected in 2020.
The campaign and the information portal
“Acute leukemias and lymphomas are among the most common pediatric cancers – says Franco Locatelli, president of the Superior Health Council and director of the Department of Onco-Hematology and Cell and Gene Therapy at the IRCCS Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome -. Progress and scientific research allow today to have more and more effective therapies to heal these tumors. Suffice it to say that the probability of recovery from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most frequent cancer of the pediatric age, now exceeds 90%. An example of all is represented by CAR-T cell therapy, based on the use of genetically modified lymphocytes of the patient to be redirected to the tumor target. It represents a further therapeutic option of relevant efficacy both for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and for large B cell lymphomas in adults. Thanks to these innovative therapies, the goal of treating more and better today’s children who will become the adults of the future becomes widely achievable. “At the center of the campaign” Let’s give voice to the future “will be the stories of those who are line in the fight against haematological cancers. Starting from 15 September for four weeks, podcasts and video-podcasts will be broadcast on the information portal lmcome.it and on the related Facebook and Instagram pages. The episodes, divided into three series, will bring out the point of view of science and research, of patients, and of those who, like the volunteers of the AIL association and caregivers, take care every day to give support and hope to the sick. The series «Blood cancers. What gets sick, how is it treated? ”Which will be narrated by Massimo Temporelli. Following will be published the episodes dedicated to those who face the disease and those who take care of it, respectively with the series “I am not afraid” and “Volunteers, children and parents”.
Symptoms not to be overlooked
Unfortunately, it is still difficult to reach an early diagnosis of a blood cancer: the initial signs are always rather vague and not very specific because they could also indicate many other pathologies (often similar to those of a bad flu). However, it is important to speak to a doctor in the presence of: fever or fever (particularly in the afternoon or at night) and a sense of weakness that persist without apparent cause for more than two weeks; bone or joint pain that does not go away; loss of appetite and sudden and unjustified weight loss; formation of spontaneous hematomas or bruises; bleeding and ulceration that does not heal (such as wounds and infections of the oral cavity); painless swelling of a superficial lymph node in the neck, axillary, or groin. Excessive sweating may also be present, especially at night, which forces you to change clothes and persistent itching spread all over the body. “For over 50 years our association has been alongside hematological patients and their families with the aim of supporting scientific research, assistance and raising public awareness against blood cancers, concludes Sergio Amadori, president of Ail -. This year Ail dedicates for the whole month a space for in-depth analysis and service to hematological patients with chronicity on ail.it, to offer advice on the daily management of the disease and provide up-to-date information on the progress of scientific research, providing free consultations to anyone facing a hematological tumor. Our goal is to best treat all patients by increasing not only the duration, but also the quality of life and the percentage of healings. For this reason we have welcomed with pleasure, for the second year, Janssen’s invitation to sponsor the “Give Voice to the Future” campaign, a future made up of research, assistance and awareness to continue improving the lives of patients ».
September 14, 2021 (change September 14, 2021 | 18:23)