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Bone marrow transplant can cure patients of cancer

SINGAPORE - Before the bone marrow register can be searched for potential matches, it must be sufficiently large to increase the chances of a match.
The New Paper - July 12, 2013
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Bone marrow transplant can cure patients of cancer

Last year, there were search requests for about 250 patients in Singapore, but only 52 transplants were done. It is not known how many of the other patients survived.

Interested donors just need to do a cheek swab and send the sample to the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP).

If you are identified as a match, you will receive a call asking if you are willing to donate your bone marrow.

There are no long-term side effects to donating and donors can return to their routine within three to five days.

BMDP president Jane Prior emphasised that those who sign up should be committed to donating their bone marrow. She said: "We don't want a situation like Father Luke's, where the donor backed out."

BMDP was set up in Singapore in 1993 and has matched 500 patients to donors so date.

It receives requests from hospitals when patients need a bone marrow transplant and would look through their database, first in Singapore and then with overseas partners if no local matches are found.

Volunteer

Before she became president, Ms Prior was a long-time volunteer with BMDP.

She identified with the cause personally as her son had leukaemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.

He was diagnosed when he was 11 years old and was fortunate to find a suitable match. He is now 28 and is completely cancer-free.

Ms Prior said: "The patients have doctors and hospitals ready for them and all they need is to find just one match so that they can live."

She added that once a patient receives a transplant, chances of survival are very high and the person will most likely be cured of the cancer.

Interested donors can call BMDP at 6327-1344 or visit their website at www.bmdp.org

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