Blood cancer patient needs could go unmet as incidence rates rise

The number of Australians living with a blood cancer is expected to rise around 30 per cent over the next decade, according to new Leukaemia Foundation analysis as it launches World's Greatest Shave this week.

Currently 12,800 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma every year. The latest analysis shows that by 2025, this number will increase to around 17,000 people.

"That’s close to 50 Australians projected to be newly diagnosed, every day, by 2025 – or two people every hour,” Leukaemia Foundation National CEO Bill Petch said.

Mr Petch said while the continued increase in diagnosis rates was concerning, the good news was improved treatments and care was increasing the survival rates of people living with blood cancers.

However, this combination was placing even greater demand on the Leukaemia Foundation's services, as more and more Australians living with blood cancer sought information and support.

“The demand on all of our services, which include emotional and practical support and the provision of vital, disease specific information and education, will only continue to grow and be put under pressure,” Mr Petch said.

Demand for the Leukaemia Foundation's patient accommodation service, which provides a home-away-from-home at no cost to regional Australians forced to relocate to capital cities closer to treatment facilities, has already reached an all-time high.

In 2017/2018 demand for the service peaked. The Leukaemia Foundation provided 56,000 nights of accommodation – a 2800-night increase on the previous year, and more than 4000 nights higher than the 2015/2016 period.

The Leukaemia Foundation is calling for Australians to throw their support behind this year’s 2019 World’s Greatest Shave as it prepares to meet the growing demand for its services.

“These services are critical to Australian families who really need our support and will be even more critical in the future,” Mr Petch said.

Without funds raised through campaigns like World’s Greatest Shave, people living with blood cancer may be unable to access the support they need,” Mr Petch said. "The Leukaemia Foundation simply won't be able to meet the increased needs of those needing help, without financial support."

“We invite all Australians to get involved with World’s Greatest Shave to help the Leukaemia Foundation continue to build our services to cater for future demand while we continue to fund vital research into a cure.” Sign up today at www.worldsgreatestshave.com or phone 1800 500 068 today.


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