An urgent call has been made to young Wigan men to put themselves forward as potential stem cell donors.
The appeal was made a by a cancer charity today amid a drastic shortage of supplies to help those with blood cancer.
The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust said men aged 16 to 30 are the most “in demand” as stem cell donors, but there is a shortage of young male donors on its register.
The charity said that men in this age group only make up 15 per cent of the register.
A poll of 345 British males aged 16 to 30 found that a fifth said they were discouraged from signing up to the register because they didn’t know anything about it.
Meanwhile, 34 per cent said they were scared that donating maybe painful and 27% admitted they were “squeamish about needles and or hospitals”.
Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “We desperately need more young men to join the register.
“There are so many myths that surround stem cell donation.
“It isn’t necessarily about being brave, as the process is so straightforward.
“All you have to do is fill out a simple form and provide a saliva sample.
“If you are a match for someone, 90 per cent of the time the process is similar to giving blood.”
If a patient has a condition that affects their bone marrow or blood, then a stem cell transplant may be their best chance of survival.
Healthy stem cells are given to the patient via their bloodstream, where they begin to grow and create healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Last year, over 88,500 women signed up to stem cell (or bone marrow) registers in the UK, compared to 47,893 men, according to new data released today in an annual review by the Anthony Nolan and NHS Stem Cell Registry.
Ian Trenholm, chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It is still the case that most UK patients must turn to an international donor register and there are still people who cannot find a donor at all.
“Young men, and those from ethnic minority groups, have the power to change this.”
To join the register visit www.anthonynolan.org/marchofthemen.