To mark the start of our Mythbusting March campaign, today we're revealing some of the most bizarre myths we hear about bone marrow donation.
We asked staff and volunteers to compile some of the most bizarre and widespread myths they hear about donation, and now we're launching Myth Busting Month to set the record straight.
Among the responses was that some people wrongly believe bone marrow registers share potential donors’ DNA details with the police.
The exercise also revealed other clangers, such as:
Among the most common myths about bone marrow and stem cell donation were that the process is extremely painful and that it involves drilling into the donor’s pelvis or hip – which is not the case.
The reality of stem cell donation looks very different to the myths
In reality, donating stem cells is now very similar to giving blood. Anthony Nolan donors say that the side effects they experience usually stretch to nothing more than feeling slightly under the weather for a day or two.
It is feared misconceptions could cost blood cancer patients their lives, as they could prevent potential lifesavers from joining the Anthony Nolan register, or from donating if they are chosen as a match for a patient.
Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said: “I can assure potential donors that the process is far from the painful experience people imagine it to be – in fact, for most people it involves little more than some tiredness and discomfort and definitely no broken bones!”
The reality of donating stem cells
Donating stem cells, which is done while sitting on a hospital bed, also has no bearing on a man’s ability to have sex and all Anthony Nolan’s donors are very much alive – anyone who is aged 16 to 30 and in good general health can join the stem cell register. Once they have signed up, they can donate up until the age of 60.
Only 60% of patients in need of a stem cell transplant are able to find the best possible match. In a bid to raise awareness of the facts surrounding stem cell donation, Anthony Nolan will be busting myths throughout March.
The charity hopes this will encourage more people to join the bone marrow donor register as well as reducing the unnecessary fear many people feel at the mention of stem cell donation.
Ann O’Leary explained: “For those of us who know the facts about stem cell donation, some of these myths are amusing.
“However, the impact of these couldn’t be more serious. It is vital that people learn the truth about stem cell donation as myths prevent potential lifesavers signing up or donating.
“It would be a tragedy if any patient were denied the chance of life because someone who could have saved them was discouraged from joining the register by a myth.
“We would urge everyone who wants to know the facts to visit our website, and anyone who knows about stem cell donation to help us spread the facts during Myth Busting Month.”
Help us bust myths by sharing the true facts with your friends and family!