September is blood cancer awareness month. You may be wondering, what is blood cancer? Blood cancer affects the function and production of the blood cells in your body, usually causing the body to produce abnormal blood cells which can prevent your blood from performing many of its usual functions like preventing serious bleeding or fighting off infections.
Blood cancer has directly impacted Jamie Spevak, Director of Service Lines at The Medical Center of Aurora. We caught up with Jamie to hear her story and learn how we can help the fight against blood cancer.
How have you been impacted by blood cancer?
Jamie: My mother was recently diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia or WM. When my mother started having stomach pains, we really thought she had some sort of GI issue. After going through months and months of testing we were shocked to find out she had blood cancer and a rare form that is typically seen in males. While it was assuring to have a diagnosis, it also became eye opening that this form of cancer is not curable, but is treatable.
What do you want people to know about blood cancer?
Jamie: Blood Cancer and really any cancer diagnosis can be a scary diagnosis for individuals and their families. It is important to know there is a wealth of resources to patients and their families out there to help navigate everything you can think of associated with blood cancer.
What does Sarah Cannon do for patients with blood cancer?
Jamie: Sarah Cannon offers an integrated approach to cancer services by offering cutting edge cancer therapies and care close to home. Programs include individualized patient navigation through oncology trained nurses, clinical trials, access to innovative therapies and world renowned physicians.
How can others get involved or help?
Jamie: Find opportunities to give back and get involved. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night event takes place every September!