Despite huge breakthroughs in treatment, a shocking 15,000 people in the UK alone die of blood cancer every year. Here are the symptoms you should look for, including an ‘unexplained’ warning that could easily be missed
Breakthroughs in blood cancer research over recent years have drastically improved survival rates of those diagnosed with the disease.
Charities boldly envision a not-so-far-future where nobody dies from blood cancer – but we’re still a long way from this goal. In fact, it is thought around 15,000 people in the UK alone still die from the illness every year.
The disease can be categorised into my different types – such as leukaemia (affecting the white blood cells), lymphoma, and myeloma. With any type of cancer, getting an early diagnosis is essential in getting the necessary treatment and bolstering its effectiveness. So, what are the symptoms and what should you do if you think you’ve developed the disease?
According to Blood Cancer UK, there are a vast range of blood cancer symptoms that you should look out for. Many of these signs could be an indicator of another health issue, or even be cause by something as simple as changing your washing powder.
However, if you’re presenting the following symptoms – it’s important to contact your GP to get check out. Your doctor will decide whether more tests are necessary.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Lumps or swelling
- Severe night sweats
- Persistent/ Recurring infections
- Unexplained fever
- Pain in your bones/ joints/ abdomen
- Fatigue that doesn’t improve with sleep
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The charity also warns to look out for unexplained rashes or itchy skin. Again, this could be cause by a plethora of reasons (such as an allergic reaction) but could also be a sign of blood cancer.
The rash may present itself as a ‘cluster of tiny spots’ or ‘larger blotches’. On black and brown skin, it may appear purple or darker than the surrounding skin – and will have a red or purple shade on lighter skin. If you press on them, they will not fade.
The NHS lists similar symptoms for acute myeloid leukaemia, which means the disease has progressed ‘quickly and aggressively’ and therefore requires immediate treatment. If you are looking pale, feeling tired or weak, suffering with breathlessness or frequent infections, as well as experiencing unusual bruising, bleeding, or weight loss – seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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