Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a devastating disease that affects 20,000 Americans and claims the lives of 10,000 every year. Last December, it claimed the life of Craig Sager, longtime NBA and Turner Sports broadcaster.
“There will never be another Craig Sager,” said Turner president David Levy. “His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports. While he will be remembered fondly for his colorful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it’s the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his battle with cancer that will be his lasting impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig’s wife, Stacy, and the entire Sager family during this difficult time. We will forever be Sager Strong.”
Sager underwent three bone marrow transplants and more than 20 chemotherapy cycles. His determination to survive, no doubt, carried him through for two more years of life after his diagnosis in 2014, despite doctors giving him only three to six months to live.
AML is the most lethal of blood cancers. Although the cause of Sager’s AML is unclear, benzene is a known risk factor for the development of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Benzene is a solvent used in many industries and products, including the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, and shoe manufacturing. It is a key ingredient in gasoline and is also found in cigarette smoke, cleaning products, detergents, and paints.
Other life-threatening diseases are linked to benzene exposure, including Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and aplastic anemia. People who work in close proximity to the chemical are at serious risk for exposure, through both inhalation and through skin absorption, because their exposure can occur at much higher levels and for longer periods of time.