More than 50,000 people die of blood cancer every year in the US
How to Sign Up for the National Bone Marrow Registry
The National Marrow Donor Program runs an organization, Be The Match, which, with 20 million members, is the world's largest and most diverse bone marrow registry.
Almost everyone in the US can join and 6,200 transplants were performed last year alone. Be The Match not only guides patients through the entire bone marrow transplant process, but also educates healthcare professionals, conducts research, and advocates for key legislators.
There's a pretty straightforward registration process for Be The Match – first you want to create an account. Then fill out an appointment form to make sure you are eligible. Next, submit a DNA sample to determine who you can donate to. Be The Match offers events featuring cheek swab kits that you can test on-site. On its website, you can search for your zip code to find an event near you, or you can also email a kit if you can not attend.
Joining the registry is no guarantee that you will need to donate – It may take years or never for you to be contacted as a partner for someone in need.
Why is a bone marrow donation important?
Every year, nearly 200,000 people in the United States suffer from blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Every nine minutes one of these people dies. Bone marrow transplants are an effective treatment and give countless people a second chance in life, but 70% of the diagnosed patients do not have a matching donor in their family, and 3,000 people die from it each year.
The Way Doctors use your human leukocyte antigen type to determine who is the right choice for donating bone marrow to a person who needs it. HLA are the proteins that your body uses to determine which cells in your body are safe and which are foreign invaders.
The HLA type is inherited, so you, as a sibling or parent, can make a good choice if you need a bone marrow transplant. However, as this is not always the case, doctors need to find the closest match, and this is where you come into play. When you register with Be The Match, doctors can find out if you have the same type of HLA as the patient they are treating.
] Who can donate bone marrow?
Be The Match includes guidelines for registering to protect the health of all concerned. They must be between 18 and 60 years old, live in the US and be ready to donate for future games. You must also follow certain health guidelines. If you have severe conditions such as arthritis, HIV / AIDS or hepatitis C, you can not donate bone marrow. If you have concerns about how health problems or medications might affect your ability to donate bone marrow, contact your doctor.
Does it hurt?
In telecasts and movies, bone marrow extraction is often portrayed as a dreadful process, but you can rest assured that this is not correct. Over 75% of the procedures extract peripheral blood stem cells that do not require surgery. You simply take a prescription to increase the number of blood stem cells in your system, and a few days later a doctor will perform a procedure similar to taking blood. During the remaining surgical procedures the patient is under anesthesia and feels nothing.
The donation of bone marrow and medical examinations is free for donors.
How else can I help?
If you have a condition that prevents you from donating bone marrow, or if you are already a registrar, and you still want to help, you can take a number of other measures. They can donate financially to Be The Match, volunteer for a bone marrow drive, help with lawsuits, or raise funds for the organization.
With Be The Match, you can also donate your baby's umbilical cord, a safe and free procedure that can treat blood cancer as well.
There are other organizations that help you join the Bone Marrow Registry, such as Gift of Life and DKMS.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be considered as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have questions about a disease or health goals.