Thursday, September 29, 2022

Awareness Ribbons

 Throughout the month of September, in honor of blood cancer awareness month, I’ve shared some information about blood cancers. 


I thought I’d end on a bit of a lighter note to end out the month. 

Many groups and organizations have adopted ribbons as symbols of support or awareness, and as a result, many causes often share the same colour. Some causes may also be represented by more than one colour.

Wearing these ribbons shows that you stand for a cause and also encourages other to support the cause. Thereby, these ribbons promote a bigger mission.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the awareness ribbon please check out

If you would like to find out what some of the colours support please check out

Thursday, September 22, 2022

This Time It’s Personal



Every September 22nd, CML patients across the globe unite on World CML Day to raise awareness about CML.

9/22 represents the genetic change of chromosomes 9 and 22 that is the cause of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

However, there is still a serious lack of standard treatments and monitoring tools for CML patients in many countries over the world.

Access to basic medicines and diagnostic, treatment according to expert recommendations, accurate monitoring tools, effective side effects management, and the right information for patients and caregivers remain as huge challenges for many CML patients worldwide.

You can learn more about CML by visiting


I struggled for about six weeks with an infection that just wouldn’t go away, even after a few rounds of antibiotics, high fevers that had me bed ridden for days, pain that radiated down my arm so badly that I couldn’t even lift it high enough to grab a coffee mug out of the cupboard, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue. After all that, Jay insisted I follow up with my family doctor instead of going back to the local clinic. It was then that blood work was taken, and things would never be the same. 

I was diagnosed with CML in February 2017.

I was told that if you were going to get cancer, this was the best one to get. It has been called the “lucky leukemia.” I don’t feel lucky and for me it has not been an easy road, I struggle daily………physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I do not write this or any other posts about CML looking for sympathy or attention, I do it to bring awareness. CML is a rare cancer of the blood and after my diagnosis it was a challenge to find support. My experience was kind of like, “here is a pamphlet and good luck to you!” 

Being told you have cancer is shocking enough, no one should ever feel alone during such an emotional time.  By sharing my story, my hope is that it will let other people know they are not alone as they face their own cancer journey.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Different Types of Leukemia

September is blood cancer awareness month so I thought it would be nice to share a few facts throughout the month. 


The term “leukemia” refers to a cancer of the blood cells. There are four major types of leukemia. Because of differences in the characteristics of the different types of leukemia, there are also differences in how they are treated.

In understanding the four major types of leukemia, it is helpful to understand the following terms.

* Acute vs. chronic: when the term “acute” is used, it refers to a type of cancer that – without treatment – may advance quite rapidly, such as within months. In contrast, the term “chronic” refers to a form of cancer that typically progress much more slowly.

* Lymphoblastic vs. myeloid: these terms refer to the type of blood cell that is involved. “Lymphoblastic” or “lymphocytic” refers to a cancer affecting lymphocytes, white blood cells such as the B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes or natural killer cells. 

In contrast, “myeloid” or “myelogenous” refers to a cancer that involves a type of stem cell that has the potential to develop into a red blood cell, non-lymphocytic white blood cells such as granulocytes, or platelets.

In all forms of leukemia, the proliferation of abnormal, non-functional cells in the bone marrow and blood interferes with the production of normal, fully-functional red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. As a result, people with leukemia may develop anemia, have a reduced ability to fight infections, and may experience blood clotting disorders.

Keeping this in mind, the four major types of leukemia are:

1. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – a fast-growing cancer of lymphocytes (white blood cell) that results in the accumulation of immature, malfunctioning cells in the bone marrow and blood.

2. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) – a more slowly-progressing cancer of the lymphocyte cells

3. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) – also known as acute myelogenous leukemia or acute non-lymphocytic leukemia, AML is a rapidly-progressing cancer of myeloid stem cells.

4. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) – a more slowly-progressing cancer of the myeloid stem cells.


Within each type of leukemia, there can be several sub-types depending upon the cancer cells involved, how mature they are, and how different they are from normal cells. Treatment options vary according to the type of leukemia and other factors, such as age and general health. The main treatment options include chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, or targeted therapy using drugs designed to only attach to specific antibodies or proteins on cancer cells. In special circumstances, other treatments may be used, such as surgery, radiation therapy, leukapheresis (removing white blood cells from the blood), or treatment with monoclonal antibodies. Advances in understanding the genetics of leukemia and how they influence the progress of the disease and response to treatment is opening new doors in individualizing treatment.

To learn more visit

Thursday, September 15, 2022

September 15th is Lymphoma Awareness Day

September is blood cancer awareness month so I thought it would be nice to share a few facts throughout the month. 

September 15th is Lymphoma Awareness Day.

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. In lymphoma a tumour develops due to abnormal and out-of-control growth of abnormal lymphocytes. Because the lymphatic system exists throughout the body and involves many organs, there may be cancerous tumours in many parts of the body. Lymphoma encompasses a variety of cancers specific to the lymphatic system, an important network of glands and vessels that make up the body’s immune system, our main line of defense against disease. 

There are two main categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin (NHL).

The lymphatic system manufactures and circulates lymph throughout the body. Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that contains lymphocytes, white blood cells that fight infection and disease. Along the network are bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes or glands. The nodes are responsible for the manufacture and storage of these infection-fighting cells. Lymph nodes are clustered in the neck, armpits, in the groin and abdomen and may swell and become tender when the body is fighting infection (such as occurs in mononucelosis or strep throat).

When lymphoma occurs, some of the cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and out of control. Eventually, they may form a tumour that continues to grow as the cancerous cells reproduce. If all the cells are the same, they are called malignant or cancerous, because they will continue to grow and eventually harm the body’s systems. Because there is lymph tissue throughout the body, the cancer cells may spread to other organs, or even into the bone.

What is the Difference Between Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is an umbrella term used for over 50 related cancers. There are two general categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

The difference between Hodgkin lymphoma and NHL is the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. A Reed-Sternberg cell is a cell derived from a B-lymphocyte and is only present in Hodgkin lymphoma. If Reed-Sternberg cells are present when the tumour is examined under a microscope, the diagnosis is Hodgkin lymphoma. If there are no Reed-Sternberg cells in a lymphatic tumour, the diagnosis is most likely to be NHL. NHL is more common than Hodgkin lymphoma, outnumbering it by a ratio of over six to one. Of all diagnosed lymphoma cases, 85% of them are NHL. Distinguishing between Hodgkin lymphoma and NHL is important to show different patterns of spread and that they require different treatments.

Find out more about the different types of lymphoma:

*  CLL

*  Hodgkin lymphoma

*  Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

To learn more visit

Friday, September 9, 2022

September 9th is MPN Awareness Day

What are MPNs?

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), known in the past as myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs), are classified as rare since less than 1 in 50,000 people develop them. They are chronic blood conditions which are more common in adults over the age of 60, but will sometimes also be found in children.

There are three major disorders which comprise the MPNs, these are;

1. Essential thrombocythemia (ET)

2. Polycythemia vera (PV)

3. Primary myelofibrosis (MF)

These diseases are differentiated by the major blood cell types involved. 

For example in ET it is the platelets and in PV it is the erythrocytes or red cells. The three MPNs (ET, PV and MF) have many features in common including their molecular origins and symptoms.

Common symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, fever, bone pain and itching, as well as an increased chance of developing thrombosis, bleeding, and leukaemia will be seen in all three diseases. Also the three MPNs may transform over time from one type to another; most often ET to PV or ET and PV to MF.

The molecular cause that MPNs have in common is the increase in activity of a cell signaling pathway known as the JAK/STATpathway, this causes enhanced cell division and therefore increases the number of blood cells. This cell signaling abnormality is due to over activity of JAK2 (Janus kinase 2), in most patients caused by a V617F mutation in the JAK2 gene. Very recently, a mutation in the CALR gene was found to be associated with JAK2-negative ET and MF.

Learn more at

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

What is Myeloma

September is blood cancer awareness month so I thought it would be nice to share a few facts throughout the month. 


Multiple myeloma, commonly referred to as myeloma, is a blood cancer that is associated with the abnormal behavior and uncontrolled growth of a type of white blood cell – the plasma cell. Plasma cells are made in the bone marrow – the spongy tissue found inside bones – and are an important component of the body’s immune system because they produce antibodies. In myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (also known as myeloma cells) interfere with the production of normal healthy blood cells in the bone marrow and overproduce inactive clones of abnormal antibodies that can negatively affect different parts of the body such as the bones and kidneys. The cause or causes of myeloma remain unknown.

Every day, 9 Canadians are diagnosed with myeloma, yet in spite of its growing prevalence, the disease remains relatively unknown. To date there is no cure for myeloma, however advancements in research and treatment are enabling those impacted by myeloma to live better and longer lives than ever before. More research leading to new therapies or new combinations of therapies are required to find a cure.

You can learn more at

Thursday, September 1, 2022

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

I thought it would be nice to share a few facts throughout the month. 



There are 137 types of blood cancers and related disorders. These cancers involve blood cells, the bone marrow, the lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system. The main types of blood cancers include:


Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma


Other, less common, blood cancers, such as myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative neoplasms.