About the Leukaemia Foundation

The Leukaemia Foundation is Australia's peak body for blood cancer, funding research and providing free services to support people with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders, and their families

About the Foundation

The Foundation maintains an unwavering focus on reducing the impact of blood cancer and related blood disorders within the community by providing free practical and emotional support, and funding research to improve treatments and find cures. Our work also includes raising awareness, advocacy, and contributing to the international blood cancer sector to improve quality of life for patients and their families.

We receive no ongoing government funding and we rely on the generous support of the community to fund our Vision to Cure and Mission to Care.

Vision to Cure

The Leukaemia Foundation’s Vision to Cure is being achieved by funding the best research through our National Research Program. With the guidance of an independent panel of leading researchers and clinicians, we support cutting-edge research in Australian hospitals and research facilities to ensure priority funding for blood cancer research.

We firmly believe that one day, everyone with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders can be cured.

Our continued commitment to research drives our National Research Program which invests more than $4 million each year in cutting edge research projects into better treatments and cures. Around half of the funding for our national program is for projects at several of Melbourne’s first class research institutes including Melbourne’s University Walter and Eliza Hall Research Institute, St. Vincent’s Research Institute and Peter MacCallum Research Institute, and the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases at Monash University. 

Mission to Care

When blood cancer changes the lives of thousands of Australian families every year, we are ready to help them to face the challenges ahead. Many simple aspects of life become complex when a person is diagnosed. Our services help to reduce the burden on the individual and their family, so they can focus on their treatment and the things they enjoy. All support is provided free of charge and includes:

  • Emotional support.
  • National support team of around 50 support service staff.
  • Information.
  • Education and support.
  • Accommodation.
  • Practical Assistance.
  • Advocacy.

About Blood Cancer

What is leukaemia?

Leukaemia is a cancer of blood cells
and is mostly found circulating in your bloodstream. Over 3300 Australians are diagnosed each year and it can occur in people of any age. Leukaemia is the most common form of childhood cancer, and in this group takes 2-3 years to treat. We do not know what causes most forms of leukaemia. Many acute leukaemias can be treated successfully, and almost all chronic leukaemias are currently considered incurable.

What is lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of blood cells that are found mostly in the lymphatic system. Lymphomas are the most common form of blood cancer and there are 43 known subtypes of the disease. It is diagnosed

in over 5000 Australians each year. Aggressive forms of the disease can usually be treated successfully, although indolent forms are considered incurable. 

What is myeloma?

Myeloma is a cancer of blood cells that are found mostly in the bones and bone marrow. It affects over 1500 Australians each year and is mainly found in older adults. Myeloma is currently considered incurable, requires multiple treatments over long periods of time, and often requires a stem cell transplant.

What are related blood disorders?

There are a number of rarer conditions that are considered cancer or cancer-like, and others that constitute bone marrow failure. These include MDS, MPN and aplastic anaemia.

How is blood cancer treated?

Treatment can include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapies, bone marrow or stem cell transplants or
a combination of these. On average, treatment lasts for about eight months. 

What are the side-effects of treatment?

The side-effects of treatment aren’t pleasant. They may include: infection, anaemia, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, frequent bowel motions, mouth ulcers, pain when swallowing, taste alteration, constipation and hair loss. Even after enduring the harrowing treatments for a blood cancer,

survivors may be susceptible to life-long complications such as infertility, organ damage, memory and learning problems, a higher incidence of secondary cancers, skin problems, and also face the possibility of the disease recurring.