Arizona Oncology - The US Oncology Network

Potential Bone Marrow Donors Can Save a Life by Participating in Just Swab It Sept. 29

9/25/2012

Potential Bone Marrow Donors Can Save a Life by Participating in Just Swab It Sept. 29

Every four minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and approximately every 10 minutes, someone dies from the disease. Despite these numbers, the survival rate has improved, in large part due to bone marrow transplants, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

On Sept. 29, Phoenix-area residents can play their part in saving a life by adding themselves to the bone marrow donor list. The event, Just Swab It, kicks off at 10 a.m. at Carlos O'Brien's, 7111 E. Bell Road, in Scottsdale. Samples will be taken until 1 p.m.

With a simple swab of the cheek, participants' DNA will be collected. A test will determine if a person is a potential marrow donor. Being a donor is often as simple as giving blood – a surgical procedure is often not necessary to donate. Only about 30 percent of those who need transplants are compatible with a family member – most rely on donors who are in the national registry,

Blood cancers affect bone marrow, blood cells, lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system.  A bone marrow transplant involves the removal of the donor's hematopoietic stem cells, which are then infused into the patient. These infused cells travel to the patient's bone marrow and spur blood cell production.

According to the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry, data collected since 1970 shows the number of successful stem cell transplants for people with blood cancer has increased from hundreds to several thousand each year.

“Stem cell transplant is used for many therapies such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma as well as many other diseases,” says Arizona Oncology’s Dr. Michael Roberts. “It is under utilized in the state of Arizona. This event will allow many people to utilize this for stem cell transplants and is potentially giving a gift for life.”

Just Swab It is open to anyone and free. It's sponsored by Arizona Oncology, Be the Match, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Cancer Transplant Institute at Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

Those who participate in Just Swab It will get a coupon to Carlos O'Brien's for one free entree with the purchase of another. Volunteers helping with the event will have free lunch. The restaurant will also sell breakfast burritos for $2.99, Coronas for $2 and margaritas for $2.50.

To find out more about being a donor, visit www.marrow.org.

About Arizona Oncology

Arizona Oncology is one of the largest medical groups in Arizona, with more than 50 practicing physicians devoted exclusively to the most comprehensive, compassionate and quality cancer care to patients in several communities throughout the state, including: Chandler, Cottonwood, Deer Valley,
Flagstaff, Glendale, Green Valley, Marana, Nogales, Oro Valley, Phoenix, Prescott Valley, Safford, Scottsdale, Sedona, Sierra Vista and Tucson.

Arizona Oncology believes it is beneficial to provide cancer therapies in a community setting, close to patients' homes and support systems. The physicians are supported by a talented clinical team sensitive to the needs of cancer patients and their caregivers. For more information, visit www.ArizonaOncology.com.

Arizona Oncology is united in healing with The US Oncology Network, one of the nation’s largest community-based cancer treatment and research networks focused on advancing cancer care in America. As an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, Arizona Oncology is united with approximately 1,000 physicians and 10,000 cancer professionals nationwide. Arizona Oncology participates in clinical trials through US Oncology Research, which has helped to develop 43 FDA-approved cancer therapies. For more information, visit www.usoncology.com.