Being diagnosed with blood cancer can be a shock at first for patients and family members. There are many ways that family members and friends can help. Here, patients can find support and assistance as well as additional points of contact.
We are happy to help you personally.Contact
Become a stem cell donor
As a family member, your tissue characteristics may already have been determined in a family typing. However, you are not automatically available as a donor for other blood cancer patients.
Make a monetary donation
Every euro counts in the fight against blood cancer because the registration of a new donor alone costs DKMS €40. Many of our donors bear these costs themselves. However, not everyone has €40 to spare.
Organize a donor drive
Local residents near the patient’s home can register at a public donor drive.
Your personal contact partner
Share your findings with us. Your personal contact partner at DKMS will listen to you and help you with any specific questions.
Counselors and points of contact
DKMS has created a guide for patients and family members that you can order from us for free.
Cosmetics seminar for patients
Cancer treatment with radiotherapy or chemotherapy can cause some temporary changes to your appearance. For instance, the loss of hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows or the development of a skin irritation can affect your self-esteem and enjoyment of life.
Get in touch with your personal contact partner.
We have compiled an overview for you to download with the individual titles of our Red Guides as well as additional sources of support and assistance.
> Red Guides Part 1
> Red Guides Part 2 (currently in progess)
> Red Guides Part 3
> Sources of Support and Assistance
This is where the free cosmetics seminar for cancer patients by DKMS LIFE, an affiliate of DKMS Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei (German Bone Marrow Donor Center), comes into play. The goal is to encourage cancer patients to deal with the disease and the consequences of treatment in a life-affirming way. In addition, the hair program for cancer patients with specially trained hairdressers offers empathetic advice for the various phases of the disease.
The tissue characteristics of donors are analyzed by DNA-based typing. Typing the tissue characteristics on a higher resolution (i.e. resolving more details) helps us to identify the matching donor for a patient much faster. According to the current knowledge, at least ten HLA characteristics should match between the donor and patient in order for the transplantation to be the most successful.
General prospective typing
In addition to determining tissue characteristics of new donors, DKMS carries out so-called ‘prospective typings’ for donors who are already registered. During this process tissue typing is expanded or resolved on a higher resolution to meet current medical standards. For this, we specifically select donors who are already registered according to age, gender and tissue characteristics already available so that we can immediately access current data and find the right donor without intermediate steps and additional typings in the event of a specific donor search.
Patient-related extended typing
For patients that require a stem cell donation, we conduct individual emergency programs. The doctors treating the patient can contact us in specific cases. Our High Risk Program helps patients in need. Some patients in other countries do not have health insurance, meaning that they have to cover the costs of the donor search themselves. In other cases, the search for a donor is more complicated because the tissue characteristic combinations that are being searched for are rare.
Other characteristics are becoming more and more important in matching donor and patient data. In order to fulfill the promise of these scientific findings and the requirements of the search centers, DKMS has thus been conducting high-resolution typings of all relevant tissue characteristics for all donors upon admission into our database since January 2013. In some cases, the determination of additional characteristics such as blood group and immunity against cytomegalovirus or the presence of a variant of the CCR5 receptor can also be important.
DKMS, however, is not only the leader in typing quality. The laboratories contracted by us work according to modern standards of science and are able to type more than 50,000 samples per month. This guarantees that the tissue characteristics of new donors can be analyzed without delay and made available for donor searches worldwide.
Depending on which examinations are planned, DKMS can use an existing sample or may need to ask for an additional buccal swab or blood sample of the donor. In any case, donors will be informed of these additional examinations.
DKMS carries out prospective typings at its locations in Germany and Poland, and will soon be carrying them out in the US as well. Generally, these examinations are carried out at the DKMS Life Science Lab in Dresden or at one of our cooperation partners’ labs.
Here, DKMS offers additional typings of potential donors from our database free of charge in order to find a matching donor for these patients as quickly as possible.
With our Replacement Donor Program, we look in our database of donors for a potential replacement donor for every stem cell donor. These “twins” are ready if the stem cell donor cannot make another donation or is not healthy enough for donation in the event that the patient suffers a relapse. This way we protect our donors from being contacted multiple times for various patients.