Delete Blood Cancer UK, the charity that recruits potential blood stem cell donors, is alarmed at the gender imbalance among those registering to donate. Of the one hundred thousand people who have registered as potential blood stem cell donors since they launched in 2013, sixty-five percent are female. This imbalance is reflected in the 1,726 people from Leeds who have registered with it.
The charity is now launching a nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more young men to register with the question ‘Are you going to show?’. Delete Blood Cancer UK says that the campaign has to challenge men as it can be a matter of life and death for those trying to finding a matching blood stem cell donor who can save their life.
For many blood cancer patients, a blood stem cell donation is their only chance of survival and they will die if a matching donor isn’t found for them. A matching donor not being found doesn’t mean that there is nobody with a tissue type that is compatible to the patient who could save their life. There could be someone out there with a tissue type that matches the patient’s who could save their life, but tragically, they may not be registered as a potential blood stem donor.
With a far smaller number of men in the UK registering to help save a life this way, Delete Blood Cancer UK is concerned that many men are missing out on the opportunity to help save a life. More importantly, they are concerned that some patients in need of a blood stem cell donation are missing out on the chance to find matching donors.
Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey, Horsforth & Aireborough, said: “It is so important that those who are able to donate stem cell feel compelled to do so. It can be absolutely life-changing for those who are in need of treatment, and I applaud the excellent work that Delete Blood Cancer UK are doing to encourage people to donate.”
Speaking about the findings and their implications, Deirdra Taylor, Director of Communications and External Relations at the charity, said: “Many men do register as potential blood stem cell donors which means that they could go on to save a life one day, and that is wonderful. However, the fact that far less men register to do this than women is very concerning. It suggests that there are reasons holding men back from registering.
“The findings of the research are clear and encouraging. It really is a lack of awareness about how you can so easily go onto a register to potentially one day donate blood stem cells to save the life of someone you don’t know, who you alone could be matched with in your tissue type. It means that more has to be done to make people, especially men, aware that they could register to do this.”
You can register in just five minutes online and request a cheek swab kit that will enable you to do your own tissue test, to go on the database to maybe one day become a blood stem cell donor, through the Delete Blood Cancer UK website: www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk