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Signs and symptoms of blood cancer

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There are many different types of blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and rarer types such as the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).

Blood cancers can cause many different symptoms. Some are common across all blood cancers, others are more characteristic of particular types of blood cancer. For example, lymphomas can be characterised by swollen lymph nodes and one of the most common symptoms of myeloma is bone pain, especially in the back.

The vagueness and non-specific nature of the symptoms means that blood cancers can be hard to diagnose.

The common symptoms of blood cancers can include:

If you or anybody you know is experiencing any or all of these symptoms, then we urge you to visit your GP who will refer you for further tests if they suspect you have a blood cancer.

Know the symptoms – Think T.E.S.T

Our symptoms cards are an easy way to remember the common symptoms of blood cancers.

T – Tiredness and exhaustion

E – Excessive sweating

S – Sore bones and joints

T – Terrible bruising and unusual bleeding

Knowing the symptoms of a blood cancer can help save lives.


You should seek prompt medical care if you are experiencing unexpected weight loss, persistent and frequent infections, night sweats, fatigue, bone pain, or enlarged lymph nodes.

But it is important to remember that many of the symptoms can occur in other, much more common and less serious illnesses as well. Whilst these symptoms do not always indicate a blood cancer, as with most cancers, early diagnosis is fundamental for better treatment outcomes so it’s always best to get your symptoms checked if you’re worried.


Download your symptoms cards here or request hard copies by calling us on 08088 010 444