With India’s Population - 1.237 billion (2012) and 555,000 people died of cancer in 2010 in India. New Cancer cases every year India –1 million.
Worldwide - 14 million every year.
Information on Cancer
Inspiring stories of Indians who have battled it out and came out as winners. The true warriors who battled against all odds and proved that no evil is big enough to be overcome
A place where the Indian community can have various discussions on the any topic directly or indirectly linked with cancer. This is for the Patients, Caregivers, Doctors and anybody who wants to help.
Survivor Success Stories
Thursday, June 02, 2013
We all need a little push a little words of wisdom. How they brave heart have fought it out and come out successful.
Some Common Myths
Monday, April 14, 2014
Ques: Is Bone marrow donation is a painful process.
Ans: No not at all
Saturday, July 28, 2013
How do we have a better standard of living to ensure that we do not fall prey to the evil like cancer etc in this crazy world
One of the most effective way of treating certain cancer malignancies is by Stem Cells Transplant. Hence it is important for the patient , the caregiver and the doctor to understand various facets related to Stem Cells. While doctors are trained and very knowledgeable, the patient and the caregiver need to become aware. Here in section, we have intended to cover these issues for these two segments of people as a lay man. Most of the information has been compiled from the internet and put down in a logical order.
About Bone Marrow Registry
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, every four minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and every ten minutes, a patient dies. The only way to cure many of these patients is through a stem cell / bone marrow transplant. Nevertheless, when people hear the words "bone marrow donation," they often conjure up images of doctors drilling into their spine, removal of bones, and excruciating pain. The truth is that bone marrow donation is actually a simple, safe, and relatively painless process. However, a lack of understanding about this process is a major reason why it is difficult for many patients, especially those of South Asian or other minority descent, to find suitable donors. Each year, more than 1,000 people die waiting for a bone marrow transplant, according to the Institute for Justice.
First, what is a bone marrow transplant?
A bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure in which a patient's damaged or destroyed bone marrow stem cells are replaced with healthy stem cells from a donor. Bone marrow is a tissue found in our bones. The stem cells within marrow continuously divide and form fresh blood cells for our body. Bone marrow cannot produce new blood cells when patients suffer from blood cancers, like leukemia, and other blood disorders. Sometimes, bone marrow stem cells are also damaged or destroyed during radiation or chemotherapy used to treat these cancers. In either case, a bone marrow transplant is required so that the patient's marrow can form new blood cells.
Hematopeitic Stem Cell (Bone Marrow) Transplantation(BMT):
BMT is used the world over to cure cases of Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia, Thalassemia, bone marrow dysplasia and other such disorders. Hematopeitic Stem cells for the transplantation are obtained from the bone marrow or peripheral blood by apheresis, donated by Tissue (HLA) matched donors or Umbilical Cord Blood. Tissue (HLA)-matched sibling donors are available only for about 30-35% of the patients needing BMT. The rest depend on the several unrelated donor registries & Umbilical Cord Blood Banks that have been set up in almost all countries around the world.
The need for BMT:
In India, there are thousands of patients with these disorders who could benefit from Bone Marrow Transplantation:
1. Blood & Lymphatic system cancers which includes Leukemias (Acute Lymphocytic Anemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Anemia; Acute Myelogenous Anemia (AML), & Chronic Myelogenous Anemia (CML); Hodgkin’s & Non-Hodgkin lymphomas and Multiple Myeloma
There were an estimated 104,239 cases of Leukemia in 2010, which is projected to increase to 117,649 in 2015 and 132,574 in 2020. (Ref. the ICMR incidence data generated by population-based cancer registries in India).
Leukemia is the most common childhood Cancer, being 25 to 40% of all childhood Cancers with 60-85% being.
Leukemia & Lymphomas are the largest contributors of death in children with Cancer as against CNS tumors in the West.
The survival rates for ALL in children is 45 to 55% compared to 60 to 85% in Europe & USA.
Several studies have suggested that allogeneic bone marrow transplantation offers the better chance of cure than conventional chemotherapy for children with ALL who enter a second remission after hematologic relapse.
Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is the only potentially curative treatment for CML.
2. Thalassemia is a genetic disorder where there is increased destruction of Red Blood Cells leading to chronic anemia.
An estimated 20 million carriers and 10,000 children are born each year with Thalassemia Major.
Thalassemia Major patients need blood transfusions every month, life long.
BMT is only potentially curative treatment for Thalassemia
3. Aplastic Anemia:
This potentially lethal disorder is caused by a variety of reasons & leads to severely low production of all cells of the bone marrow.
a. While incidence of Aplastic Anemia in the western world is estimated to be around 2 per million population, in India and other Asian countries it could be as high as 6 to 8 per million.
b. BMT is usually the only chance for a cure.
Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantation in India:
The number of Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantations carried out in India has been growing steadily in the last decades. As per the data from the Indian Transplant Registry, from negligible numbers in 1990, it has gone up to 2445 Allogeneic transplants in 2010, of which, 26% were for Thalassemia & other Hemoglobinopathies, 18% for Aplastic Anemia, and 50% for various types of Leukemias.
The average cost of allogeneic BMT in India is around 7,000–20,000, and this is considerably lower than the cost in the West. The experience in the last decades has proved that that it is possible to develop a good allogeneic bone marrow transplant program in India with results that are comparable to those achieved in the West at a significantly lower cost.
But one of the limiting factors for the BMT programme in India is the absence of a National level unrelated marrow donor registry with a sufficient number of donors to take care of the HLA diversity in the country.
Stem cells are the building blocks of our blood and immune systems. They form the white cells (white blood corpuscles) that fight infection, red cells (red blood corpuscles) that carry oxygen and platelets that promote healing. Stem cells are present in our bone marrow and they generate new cells throughout our lives.
Stem cells are already in use to cure ailments like acute leukaemia, chronic leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, stem cell disorders, myeloproliferative disorders, lymphoproliferative disorders, phagocyte disorders, inherited disorders like osteoporosis, B-Thalassemia, inherited metabolic disorders, inherited erythrocyte abnormalities like Beta Thalassemia and Sickle cell disease, and other malignancies like multiple myeloma, plasma cell leukaemia, renal cell carcinoma and retinoblastoma.
Stem Cell Transplant
Many factors play a role in how the immune system knows the difference between self and non-self, but the most important for transplants is the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system. Human leukocyte antigens are proteins found on the surface of most cells. They make up a person’s tissue type, which is different from a person’s blood type.
Each person has a number of pairs of HLA antigens. We inherit one of each of these pairs from each of our parents (and pass one of each pair on to each of our children). Doctors try to match these antigens when finding a donor for a person getting a stem cell transplant.
How well the donor’s and recipient’s HLA tissue types match plays a large part in whether the transplant will work. A match is better when all 6 of the known major HLA antigens are the same — a 6 out of 6 match. People with these matches have a lower chance of graft-versus-host disease, graft rejection, having a weak immune system, and getting serious infections. For bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplants, sometimes a donor with a single mismatched antigen is used — a 5 out of 6 match. For cord blood transplants a perfect HLA match doesn’t seem to be as crucial for success, and even a sample with a couple of mismatched proteins may be OK.
Doctors keep learning more about better ways to match donors. Today, fewer tests may be needed, for siblings since their cells vary less than an unrelated donor. But more than the basic 6 HLA antigens are often tested on unrelated donors to reduce the risks of mismatched types. Sometimes doctors will want to look at 5 pairs of antigens, for example, to try and get a 10 out of 10 match. Certain transplant centers now require high-resolution matching, which looks more deeply into tissue types. Other centers are doing clinical trials with related half-matched donors and different chemotherapy schedules. This is an active area of research because it’s often hard to find a good HLA match.
Finding a match
There are thousands of different combinations of possible HLA tissue types. This can make it hard to find an exact match. HLA antigens are inherited from both parents. If possible, the search for a donor usually starts with the patient’s brothers and sisters (siblings), who have the same parents as the patient. The chance that any one sibling would be a perfect match (that is, that you both received the same set of HLA antigens from each of your parents) is 1 out of 4.
If a sibling is not a good match, the search could then move on to relatives who are less likely to be a good match — parents, half siblings, and extended family, such as aunts, uncles, or cousins. (Spouses are no more likely to be good matches than other people who are not related.) If no relatives are found to be a close match, the transplant team will widen the search to the general public.
As unlikely as it seems, it’s possible to find a good match with a stranger. To help with this process, the transplant registries are used. Registries serve as matchmakers between patients and volunteer donors. They can search for and access millions of possible donors and hundreds of thousands of cord blood units. The largest registry in the United States is Be the Match (formerly called the National Marrow Donor Program). They have access to millions of international records, and have successfully matched thousands of donors and recipients.
The chances of finding an unrelated donor match improve each year, as more volunteers sign up. Today, about half of white people who need a stem cell transplant may find a perfect match among unrelated donors. This drops to about 1 out of 10 people in other ethnic groups, mostly because their HLA types are more diverse and they seem to be less likely to take part in donor registries. Depending on a person’s tissue typing, several other international registries also are available. Sometimes the best matches are found in people with a similar racial or ethnic background. Finding an unrelated donor can take months, though cord blood may be a little faster. A single match can require going through millions of records.
Now that transplant centers are more often using high-resolution tests, matching is becoming more complex. Perfect 10 out of 10 matches at that level are much harder to find. But transplant teams are also getting better at figuring out what kinds of mismatches they can get away with in which situations – that is, which mismatched sites are less likely to affect transplant success and survival.
Who is eligible to donate?
Any healthy adult between the ages of 18 and 50 ( even 55 in some registries) can become a donor. However if you have, or have had in the past, a chronic or other serious conditions some of which are listed below) then you are not eligible.
Important exclusion criteria:
· Heart diseases (e. g. previous heart attack, coronary heart disease)
· Lung diseases (e. g. severe bronchial asthma)
· Diseases of the haematopoietic system
· Severe kidney diseases
· Severe illnesses of the central nervous system
· HIV or Aids
· Metabolic diseases (e. g. diabetes)
· Autoimmune conditions (e. g. rheumatism)
· Severe infectious diseases, (e. g. infectious jaundice, Hepatitis B, C)
· Weight under 50 kg
· Obesity, with a body mass index (BMI) > 40 (BMI
The Donation Process
If you are matched, you may be asked to donate in one of two ways. The method used is determined by the patient's doctor. We will consult with you on this but you must be willing to donate using either method.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) Donation
Peripheral blood stem cell donationStem cells are collected via the blood stream. To increase the number of cells in the blood stream, for four consecutive days prior to the stem cell collection, donors receive a daily injection to stimulate stem cell production (G-CSF). On the day of donation, the donor’s blood is collected from one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood stem cells (apheresis).
The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm. This is a non-surgical outpatient procedure that takes around four hours. Most of the donations are through this method.
Bone Marrow Donation
Bone marrow donation Marrow cells are collected from the back side of the pelvic bone (not the spine). Donors are given a general anaesthetic so no pain is experienced during the marrow extraction. This is a 1-2 hour medical procedure. Some donors experience some short term pain, bruising and stiffness after the procedure.
Within a week of donating, most donors are able to return to work or school and resume their usual activities. This method of donation is less used.
Umbilical Cord Blood
Donated umbilical cord blood can be used to treat people with life-threatening diseases, including leukemia, other types of cancer, and immune and genetic disorders. Cord blood transplantation is often an effective alternative for people in need of bone marrow transplantation who cannot find a suitable tissue-matched donor, either within their own family or from unrelated donors on bone marrow registries.
The importance of umbilical cord blood
The growth of a fetus while in the mother's womb requires nourishment and oxygen. These essential substances pass from the mother's blood to the fetus' blood through the placenta (a temporary organ that connects the mother and fetus) and are carried to the developing infant through the umbilical cord. The blood found within the umbilical cord is the baby's, not the mother's. Typically, after a baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and thrown away, along with the placenta and several cupfuls of blood that may still be in the cord. However, researchers have discovered that umbilical cord blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells, the immature blood-forming cells also found in blood and bone marrow. These stem cells have the ability to differentiate (change) into red blood cells (cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body), white blood cells (cells that help the body fight infections and diseases), or platelets (cells that help blood clot and prevent bleeding).
The umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that have the potential to treat over 80 medical conditions today such as thalassemia (rare blood disorder), leukemia (blood cancer), myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer), lymphoma (type of blood cancer) and many such critical diseases. Stem cells are regenerative cells that can be transplanted to replace damaged cells in the body.
Stem Cell derived from Umbilical Cord is the hope for cure for two specific groups of diseases - blood cancers and Thalassemia.
Awareness about marrow or blood stem cell transplantation, widely recognized in the developed countries as the treatment of choice for leukemia, lymphoma and 70 other related diseases, is slowly spreading to the developing world, including India.
About 3 million Indians are diagnosed with cancer, between 5% and 10% of them with blood cancers. Similarly approximately 10,000 children are born every year with Thalassemia in India. For many such patients, peripheral blood stem cell or umbilical cord derives stem cell transplantation offers the only hope.
Public stem cell bank
In Europe and in the United States many private stem cell banks like LifeCell operate as dual banks; that is as a private bank where individuals keep their stem cells by paying an amount, and also a public stem cell bank from where anybody can buy stem cells if they can get a match.
LifeCell has only a private stem cell bank currently, but now for the first time in the country, they are planning to have a public stem cell bank also.
What is a public stem cell bank?
"In our private stem cell bank, customers store their umbilical cord stem cells for their future use by paying us an amount. But if they do not want to store it for their own future use, they can donate the stem cells to the public bank. We can also collect stem cells from various hospitals and store them for the public to use," V R Chandramouli, CEO of LifeCell, explained.
So, how do they get stem cells from hospitals?
"We have tie-ups with 300 hospitals in the country. So, any mother delivering in these hospitals can donate her umbilical cord to us. She has two options, either donate it for the public or let it go waste. There are no hurdles as far as the hospitals and doctors are concerned. But what we need now is to form a trust that can handle public stem cell banking," Chandramouli said.
To the question why they need a trust, Chandramouli said, LifeCell already has a private stem cell bank, the public bank has to remain separate from it, and there should not be any mix up.
In the case of a public bank, they have to do more tests on HLAs (Human Leukocyte Antigens) or proteins, like the tests done for blood groups in blood banks. In the case of umbilical cord protein matching, all the six proteins need not match; even a 4:6 matching is possible unlike the bone marrow matching.
Once the tests are done on the donated umbilical cord stem cells, LifeCell plans to create a public registry where the results of each umbilical cord stem cell will be displayed. The information in the public registry is for people from all over the world to see. So, anyone from anywhere in the world can go to the public registry and look for a match if they need a transplant.
How to become an umbilical cord blood donor
Donating cord blood requires some advance preparation. Before the 34th week of pregnancy, you should check to find out if your hospital works with a specific cord blood bank and contact that bank. If your hospital does not have an official relationship with a cord blood bank, contact a cord blood bank in your area to ask if it can help you donate.
Public versus private use
You can choose to donate cord blood to a public cord blood bank or store it for private use. Private storage of umbilical cord blood reserves your baby's cord blood for use within your own family, whereas public storage makes cord blood available for any person in need.
Donating cord blood to a public cord blood bank is free of charge, while private storage will entail payment.
Donating umbilical cord blood poses no health risk to either the mother or the baby, and it is a painless procedure that does not change the birth process. Public cord blood banks take care of the costs of processing and storing your baby's cord blood, so donation is free of charge.
After the baby's birth, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Approximately three to five fluid ounces of blood is drained from the umbilical cord and placenta and placed into a collection bag or vial, called a unit. If there is not enough blood collected to yield a sufficient amount of blood-forming cells that can be used in transplant, the cord blood unit will not be stored. The entire process of umbilical cord blood collection takes approximately five minutes.
Umbilical cord blood storage
Shortly after the cord blood has been collected, the cord blood unit is taken to a laboratory for processing, testing, and storing. It is tested for the presence of infectious diseases. In addition, the "tissue-type" of the cells is determined. This information is used to match the cord blood unit with patients who need it. The test is called human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing. HLAs are proteins that are found on the surfaces of all cells in the body, especially on white blood cells of the immune system. It is the special combination of HLA proteins that make each person's tissue trait unique. The HLA type of the cord blood unit is listed on the donor registry, and doctors can access this information when they are looking for an HLA match for a patient in need of transplantation. All personal information is kept confidential. Cord blood banks will contact you to inform you of test results that are important for your health and welfare and that of your baby.
After all screening tests have been completed, the cord blood unit is stored in a bag, labeled with HLA type, and placed in a freezer. Cord blood can be stored for a long period of time in this environment, and clinical studies have shown that, even after 10 years, sufficient amounts of cells necessary for transplant are still present in the cord blood unit.
Umbilical cord and stem cells
Other than bone marrow, the blood in the umbilical cord also has stem cells (and this is why the reference to India's childbirth). It can be also used as a source of cells for transplants quite like the bone marrow stem cells.
The umbilical cord stem cells have a number of important advantages compared to the bone marrow stem cells.
The major advantage is that umbilical cord blood stem cells are easier to gather than stem cells from the bone marrow. They have the unique ability to regenerate/reproduce into over 200 types of tissues. Above all, such stem cells, collected from the umbilical cord of your child, can be frozen and kept in a bank, which can be used later. God forbid, if something untoward happens to your child you won't have to turn heaven and hell to find a matching donor.
Last year more than 6,800 cases were reported globally where stem cell transplants have been successful.
Stem Cell Donor
SOME ARTICLES ON VARIOUS REGISTRIES
Marrow Donor Registry India (MDRI) centers in Mumbai
The Foundation has partnered with Marrow Donor Registry India (MDRI) to create a world -class registry of marrow donors in India for patients who have blood-related illnesses like leukemia, thalessemia, aplastic anemia and congenital immunodeficiency states.
MDRI was set up in 2008 as an NGO at the Tata Memorial Centre with the sole purpose of creating a registry of committed, voluntary and unrelated donors for those patients requiring bone marrow transplantation and without an HLA- matched donor within their families. However, for the registry to be functional, more than one lakh donors need to be registered. People from the age group of 18-50 years are eligible for donor recruitment.
One can register with MDRI at any of the following centres in Mumbai
S. L Raheja hospital Blood Bank, Mahim West. Tel: 56529683
Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai 12. Tel: 65152695
Saifee Hospital, Charni Road. Tel: 67570111
Holy Family Hospital blood Bank, Bandra-50, Tel: 30610555
Breach Candy hospital Blood Bank, Bulabhai Desai road, Mum 26. Tel: 23633651
India to set up largest public cord blood bank
By Richa Sharma | IANS - NEW DELHI
Published: 24th November 2013 01:26 PM
Nalini Ambady, the first Indian American woman to teach psychology at Harvard and Stanford universities, died of leukemia last month after failing to find a donor for a life-saving bone marrow transplant both in the US and India. But she is not the only one. In India, the situation is very grim.
According to experts, over 70 percent of patients in need of a stem cell transplant are unable to find a match due to lack of bone marrow donors. Also, the inventory of donated umbilical cord blood units is negligible.
Realising the need for a repository, LifeCell - India's first stem cell banking company - has planned to set up the country's largest public cord blood bank. The Chennai-based company plans to have an inventory of 10,000 units that can be used for treatment during serious medical conditions.
"The need for a public repository of donor stem cells is being felt sharply with the sad demise of Dr. Nalini Ambady as she could not find a bone marrow match either in the US or India despite a massive online campaign run by her family and friends," Mayur Abhaya, managing director and head of LifeCell, told IANS.
The company plans to spend Rs.25 crore/Rs 250 million for establishing the bank in Chennai in the next five years. At the moment, India has 15 private cord blood stem cell banks. But the need is growing day by day.
This was specially felt in the Nalini Ambady case. Despite searching for a match in the US and India, she could not find anything that could help her.
On the need for an extensive repository, Abhaya said: "Considering the huge ethnic diversity in the country many more units would be required to give patients a reasonable chance of finding a match."
"The idea is to improve the stem cell asset base in the country to make the benefits available to our people. As of now the umbilical cord blood is wasted post-delivery," he said.
"We have tied up with over 100 large public health institutions for collection of around 100,000 cord blood samples. Generally 1 in 10 samples are of storing quality; so by the end we will have a repository of 10,000 units," said Abhaya.
He said consent of the parent will be taken before releasing the unit to a needy patient.
"We have decided to keep a cost of Rs. 500,000 (over $8,300) to source a unit of cord blood as compared to $40,000-50,000 (Rs. 25 lakh) in the US. In Europe, it costs the equivalent of Rs.21 lakh," he said.
"In the recent years a large number of umbilical cord blood banks have been created worldwide to provide more access to these precious stem cells.
"In 2005 there were less than 25 banks worldwide and now there are over 500 banks around the world with an umbilical cord blood bank now established in almost every major country," he said.
Umbilical cord blood banking is today regarded as an essential service globally wherein the precious stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord blood and preserved in minus 190 degree Celsius in order to maintain its utility for decades.
LifeCell is India's first such private stem cell bank, where you can store the umbilical cord of your child for a fee, for future use.
LifeCell, in collaboration with CRYO-CELL International, USA facilitates the cryogenic preservation of stem cells at its unique facility in Chennai. LifeCell has set up a 21,000 sq ft laboratory at the cost of Rs 14 crore on the outskirts of Chennai city.
The storage of stem cells is done at at -196° Centigrade under liquid nitrogen.
LifeCell has offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat, Chandigarh, Pune, Jaipur, Noida, Calicut, Trivandrum and Dubai and plans to set up more offices within and outside the country.
The probability of umbilical cord stem cell matching with anyone in the world is larger than that of a bone marrow stem cell matching. Out of the 6,800 cases of stem cell transplants that were done last year to cure various malignant and non-malignant diseases, more than 300 cases were done from the stem cells collected from umbilical cords.
Will not critics look at LifeCell as exploiters of 25 million births in India?
"We are talking about what goes waste after each birth. With 25 million births happening in India, it is an opportunity for India. In the process, the entire world will be benefited. LifeCell gets paid only for the analytical and storage services. All other benefits will go to the trust. Many multinational companies in the US run such trusts but they also use the umbilical cord stem cells for R&D because a lot of research is going on right now on stem cells.
"At present, cure has been found for only six diseases, and there are 74 more diseases where clinical trials are going on. We are also in discussion with many such pharma companies and universities. But we need government approval before we go deep into all this," he said.
"Once that is done, India will be on the world map as far as stem cells are concerned. Today, one stem cell costs about $25,000 (more than Rs 11 lakh)," Chandramouli said.
Of the 25 million births that take place every year in India, LifeCell is looking at a figure of 200,000-250,000 collections every year.
The 21,000 sq ft lab of LifeCell at present has the capacity to store more than 100,000 stem cells which, according to the CEO, can go up to 200,000 in a month's time.
Jeevan Stemcell Bank
Mission: To serve as a source of stem cells collected from umbilical cord blood for treatment of leukemia and related disorders, and to serve the needs of medical research.
Vision: Jeevan seeks to link India to the global network of stem cell and cord blood registries that serve as sources of stem cells. Jeevan believes stem cell transplantation represents a potentially life saving treatment option for thousands of patients with otherwise fatal blood and immune system disorders. Jeevan seeks to bring the advanced medicine of unrelated stem cell transplantation to India, by providing access to stem cells, initially using umbilical cord blood and eventually establishing a full-fledged, adult stem cell donor registry, similar to the registries in most developed countries.
Being in the domain of blood banking for the past 12 years, Jeevan proposes:
To establish a Public Stem Cell Bank to store stem cells derived from Donated Umbilical Cord Blood.
To make available HLA matched stem cells to patients in India either free of charge (below poverty line) or on actual cost recovery basis for those who can afford.
To offer cord blood units to advance medical research.
To raise public awareness about stem cell transplant treatments.
To raise public awareness about the need for a public cord blood bank and cord blood donation.
To link Jeevan Stem Cell Bank with the global network of marrow donor and cord blood registries.
Donor Registries in India
Some Common Myths
Myth 1: Is Bone marrow donation is a painful process.
Reality: 75% of the time, stem cells are collected from the blood in a mildly uncomfortable process similar to donating blood. When marrow is actually taken from the bone, the donor is under anesthesia and only experiences some discomfort for a few days.
Myth 2: I don't want to be donor, because I'll have to give marrow from my spine.
Reality: Bone marrow is never collected from the spine. It is taken from the back of the hips in a safe and painless procedure.
Myth 3: Donating bone marrow stem cells is expensive and/or inconvenient.
Reality: Donors can donate at locations near them, and the stem cells will be transported to the patient. Furthermore, any expenses are taken care of by the Be The Match organization, which facilitates these donations.
Myth 4: There are millions of registered donors, so I don't need register.
Reality: Despite the fact that there are over 10 million registered donors in the US, according to the National Bone Marrow Donor Program, the odds of finding the perfect match can be lower than 1 in 20,000 for minorities, such as South Asians. New registrees are always needed.
Myth 5: Registration is a difficult process.
Reality: Registration takes about ten minutes, is free, and only involves filling out a form and swabbing your cheeks with cotton buds.