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How well can you Spot Leukaemia?

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • BCAM #SpotLeukaemia graphic (Symptoms)

For World Cancer Day, on the 4th February 2018, we were helping you to learn more about leukaemia. This included our Spot Leukaemia quiz, testing your knowledge on the signs and symptoms of leukaemia, but how did you do?

In our ‘Living with Leukaemia’ report launched during Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September 2017, we revealed the lack of leukaemia symptom awareness in the public. Before diagnosis, most patients experienced symptoms but 82% did not suspect that they had cancer. This suggests that many people do not relate their symptoms to leukaemia.

Spot Leukaemia is all about improving understanding of what leukaemia is and raising awareness of leukaemia symptoms. This is exactly what we were doing on World Cancer Day, by answering the most googled searches relating to leukaemia.

At number 3 on the most googled searches was “what are the symptoms of leukaemia?” Here, we shared our Spot Leukaemia quiz to see if you could answer the questions, and now it’s time to reveal how well you did.

If you haven’t yet taken the quiz, now’s your chance to do so before we reveal spoilers!

Over 150 people took the quiz and the average score was 46% - this equates to 14 points out of a total of 30. There were two top symptom spotters who managed to score over 90%. 

We asked, “what is the most common symptom of leukaemia in all age groups?” and the top answer from 48% of quizzers was ‘Fatigue’. This is the correct response. More than half of patients experience fatigue prior to diagnosis and it is by the far the most common symptom across all leukaemia types.

Quiz questions following this were designed to see if you could Spot Leukaemia in different age groups. The most common type of leukaemia varies with age, which can alter the symptoms that patients experience. For example, 16-24-year olds are most likely to be diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), whereas over 65s are more likely to be diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL).

We asked separately for the three most commonly experienced symptoms in children and in people aged 25 to 49 years old. Most people (65%) were able to guess correctly two out of the top three symptoms: easily bruising and frequent infections for children, and fatigue and bruising for patients aged 25 to 49 years old.

The question that was answered correctly by only 8% of quizzers was, “Which of these is one of the top five commonly experienced symptoms in people aged 50 to 64 years old?”. The possible answers included itching, swollen lymph nodes, stomach pain, sleeping problems or frequent infections. The majority of people answered with swollen lymph nodes, but the actual answer was sleeping problems, often a consequence of the other symptoms of leukaemia.

Our final Spot Leukaemia quiz questions (Which of these are symptoms of leukaemia?) were trick questions. All of the following 19 answers are symptoms of leukaemia, but the average person thought just 8 are signs of leukaemia:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Bruising or bleeding
  3. Bone pain
  4. Joint pain
  5. Fever or night sweats
  6. Sleeping problems
  7. Shortness of breath 
  8. Swollen lymph nodes
  9. Stomach discomfort
  10. Nausea or vomiting
  11. Numbness in hands or feet
  12. Heart palpitations
  13. Loss of concentration
  14. Infections
  15. Headaches
  16. Muscle pain
  17. Back pain
  18. Itchy skin
  19. Weight loss

Early diagnosis is key for improving patient outcomes and quality of life. Knowing the signs and symptoms of leukaemia can help you to Spot Leukaemia earlier. 

If you are worried about experiencing these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP. 

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