As the 200,000th person registers with DKMS this month, the charity has praised women in the UK for being more willing than men to register as potential blood stem cell donors. Since the charity launched in 2013, 66% of those who registered are female. The charity says that while it is wonderful that so many people are willing to help save the life of someone they don’t know, they are concerned that far less men are registering.
A blood stem cell donation is the only chance of survival for many blood cancer patients. Sadly, many patients will not find a matching donor. This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors. That is why DKMS works to increase the size and diversity of the blood stem cell registry.
Younger people, especially men have a better chance of being chosen to donate. DKMS is concerned that some patients in need of a blood stem cell donation are missing out on the chance to find matching donors due to the current registration gender imbalance. Caroline Portlock, Head of Donor Recruitment at the charity, said:
“We are delighted to have registered 200,000 people in just three years. It is wonderful that so many women put themselves forward to potentially help save a life. We don’t want to stop women registering but the fact that far less men register is very worrying, as we know that men often have a better chance of being chosen to donate.
Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. We’d really love to have more men registering with us. If you’re aged between 17 to 55 you could be a potential life saver. Simply register online at our website www.dkms.org.uk and request a cheek swab kit.”