Despite being the UK’s third biggest cancer killer, awareness surrounding blood cancer is lacking. Here are the early warnings signs you should never ignore
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Blood cancer is said to be the UK’s third biggest cancer killer, with an estimated 40,000 people receiving a diagnosis annually.
A staggering 15,000 people die from the disease every year. However, awareness surrounding blood cancer and its symptoms is lacking.
It affects people of all ages and is the most common type of childhood cancer, but the risk of being diagnosed with blood cancer also increases with age. In fact, according to Blood Cancer UK, almost 40 percent of those diagnosed are aged 75 and over.
The earlier blood cancer is detected, the better chances your treatment is successful. So here is everything you need to know about the disease, including early symptoms signs and symptoms.
What are the different types of blood cancer?
There are many types of blood cancer, but these are usually categorised into three groups: Leukaemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma.
Leukaemia are cancers affecting your blood cells, particularly white blood cells and marrow. According to Anthony Nolan, “These cells often divide too quickly and don’t develop properly, which compromises your immune system and ability to fight infections”.
Lymphoma targets the lymphatic system, the part of your immune system that transports while cells around your body and removes waste products from your blood.
Myeloma, which is commonly referred to as multiple myeloma, affects the plasma cell – which produce antibodies that help fight off infection.
What are blood cancer symptoms?
Although symptoms can vary, blood cancers share common warning signs, some of which can be mistaken for the flu or a severe cold. These include:
- Coughing or chest pain
- Fever or chills
- Frequent infections
- Itchy skin or rash
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Night sweats
- Persistent weakness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
It is important to get checked if you’re concerned you’re showing blood cancer symptoms, as 67 percent of people with blood cancer only have to see their GP once or twice before being diagnosed.
What are the treatments of blood cancer?
There are a slew of different treatments available for blood cancer, depending on variables such as the type of cancer you have and your current health. These include chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, and immunotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Surgery may also be used to treat blood cancers in rare cases.
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