Team Efforts Propel Cancer Victories

CURE, Hematology Special Issue (February) 2021, Volume 1, Issue 1

It’s always best to have a team of people, whether friends or family, rooting us on as we face whatever challenges come our way.

Trying to get through anything in life alone, especially a cancer diagnosis, can be a daunting challenge. It’s always best to have a team of people, whether friends or family, rooting us on as we face whatever challenges come our way.

But sometimes, we lose sight of the significance of teamwork.

I was reminded of that recently when former NFL player Devon Still addressed the virtual audience at CURE Media Group’s eighth annual MPN Heroes® program in December.

Still stressed that teamwork — in this instance, overcoming a blood cancer diagnosis — is pivotal to reaching the goal of victory.

Within these pages, you will meet people who embraced that team mentality and continued to persevere to help themselves and others in the myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) community.

Also within this special issue, a feature story explores one of the many disastrous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and what cancer centers, hospitals and even cancer survivors have done to mitigate that issue.

The problem, as oncologists attest, is that as the pandemic spread, many avid blood donors canceled their scheduled appointments. What has concerned hematology/oncology experts is that, according to the American Red Cross, patients with cancer use nearly one-quarter of the U.S. blood supply, and donated blood is often used during the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies to control bleeding.

As a result of these shortages, several cancer centers have adjusted their policies and thresholds for transfusing blood. Of note, one leukemia survivor featured in the story spent the first few months of the pandemic organizing five small blood drives in a Chicago suburb. Because of those successes, she was asked to help run the seventh annual ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive, which collected more than 2,000 units of blood.

Also inside: how advancements in CAR-T cell therapy have begun to revolutionize the treatment of T-cell leukemias, as well as a recap of some of the groundbreaking advancements in the treatment of blood cancers that were presented at a recent major medical meeting.

As always, thank you for reading.

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