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World Cancer Day

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • 92654-OJAY9Z-906

Approximately 34,000 people are diagnosed with a blood cancer each year. Around 9500 of them are diagnosed with leukaemia. This means that every twenty minutes someone is told they have leukaemia.

Signs, symptoms and statistics

World Cancer Day is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness not only about blood cancer, but about cancer as a whole. However, this is especially true for blood cancer as the symptoms are notoriously hard to spot. They’re often vague and non-specific, meaning that many patients risk being misdiagnosed or miss the signs altogether. So today, it’s important we spread the message about how to spot the symptoms.

To start off, a few of the main symptoms include:

Because of the indistinctness of these symptoms, it’s vital that people know what to look for. That’s why we’ve created our symptoms cards. If you believe someone may have blood cancer, think TEST:

Tiredness and exhaustion

Excessive sweating (night sweats, fever)

Sore bones and joints

Terrible bruising and unusual bleeding


For some, they may even be asymptomatic. Compare these two stories: Paul Cabban was diagnosed with smouldering myeloma by chance after visiting his GP for a check-up. He had displayed none of the usual symptoms associated with blood cancer. Maxine Wright-Moore, on the other hand, could barely climb the stairs to her flat due to fatigue, and was eventually diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. Therefore, whilst it’s important to keep an eye out for symptoms, it’s also imperative you visit your GP regularly to make sure you have a clean bill of health.

After all, an early diagnosis greatly increases the chance of survival. The number of leukaemia patients diagnosed by ‘emergency presentation’ (A&E or emergency GP appointment), are:

On average, the percentage of cancer patients diagnosed by emergency presentation is 22 percent. For chronic leukaemia’s, where the symptoms come on more slowly, it’s much more difficult to get an early diagnosis. That’s why it’s so important to visit your GP if you notice any change in your physical wellbeing, no matter how small.

Nevertheless, the chance of survival has greatly increased for leukaemia sufferers since the 1970s. Four decades ago, around 5 in 100 people diagnosed with leukaemia survived beyond ten years. That number is now almost half of all diagnosed, with 52 percent surviving five years or more.

Yet whilst survival rates have risen, mortality rates have remained stable since the 1970s. In 2014, there were around 4,600 leukaemia deaths in the UK. That amounts to 13 deaths every day. There is good news, however, in that mortality rates are expected to fall by 18 percent in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 8 deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.

So, if you want to do something great this World Cancer Day, then why not get your hands on our symptoms card and hand it out to your friends and family, or even distribute it at your GP surgery. You could reach someone secretly suffering from blood cancer and help them to get diagnosed early. What are you waiting for? Download our symptoms card here, or request a hard copy by calling 08088 010 444, and you could save a life.

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