Myeloma Action Network (GMAN), a group of patient organizations in five continents, has declared Thursday, March 30 as International Myeloma Action Day to raise awareness of the disease, to advocate for early detection of multiple myeloma, to ensure treatment options are available worldwide, and to seek further research to find a cure for the second most prevalent blood cancer that affects 750,000 people globally.
Declaring the last Thursday of March – which is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month – as International Myeloma Action Day, GMAN is launching its first “MAM goes MAD” campaign in which patients of 40 member organizations in 37 countries will take to social media to raise awareness of the disease – a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Patients also will send letters to both their doctors advocating for early detection and to policy makers in their local areas to support access to new drug therapies.
“The incidence of myeloma is increasing, and it is becoming a more common diagnosis in younger patients,” said Yelak Biru, a myeloma patient and one of the campaign leaders of GMAN’s International Myeloma Action Day. “However, because it is a relatively unknown cancer, myeloma can go undiagnosed until the disease begins to seriously damage health. With more treatment options available than ever, an early diagnosis is vital for achieving the best outcomes for patients.”
An advocacy initiative of the International Myeloma Foundation – the oldest and largest foundation focusing specifically on myeloma – GMAN’s mission is to raise global awareness of myeloma, support the needs of patients, promote early diagnosis, advocate for newer and more effective therapies and provide education and information to patients, physicians and policy makers.
“Long term survival is now possible for people living with myeloma, but many patients lack access to effective treatments,” said IMF President and Co-Founder Susie Novis Durie. “Four years ago we realized that having patient organizations around the world work together to raise awareness would be ideal to help increase early detection of myeloma in patients and improve access to new therapies, and so GMAN was developed. The International Myeloma Action Day campaign is one of the highlights of this collaboration.”
The IMF asks that myeloma patients and advocates join them on March 30 to tell their stories on social media platforms (including Twitter with hashtag #GMANmad17) and to help raise awareness of myeloma during the first International Myeloma Action Day.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL MYELOMA ACTION NETWORK
In 2013, the International Myeloma Foundation led the development of the Global Myeloma Alliance, which became the Global Myeloma Action Network (GMAN) in 2014. GMAN, the world’s only global myeloma advocacy consortium, includes patient organizations around the world whose aim is to support myeloma patients’ needs. While each member organization executes its own mission and vision, GMAN works to convene members and partners to share best practices, address mutual areas of concern and elevate awareness of multiple myeloma. To learn about more about GMAN and its various activities, please visit: http://gman.myeloma.org/.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the oldest and largest foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation’s reach extends to more than 450,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.
ABOUT MULTIPLE MYELOMA
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells -- white blood cells that make antibodies. A cancerous or malignant plasma cell is called a myeloma cell. Myeloma is called “multiple” because there are frequently multiple patches or areas in bone where it grows. It can appear as both a tumor and/or an area of bone loss, and it affects the places where bone marrow is active in an adult: the hollow area within the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, rib cage, and the areas around the shoulders and hips.