Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, paid a visit to Leukaemia CARE on Friday, a national blood cancer charity based in Worcester, as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer. The three main types of blood cancer include leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, and are characterised by the particular blood cells that are affected. They are the 12th, 5th, and 18th most common cancers in the UK respectively.
However, in a recent report looking at what it’s like to live with leukaemia, the charity discovered that 68% of people diagnosed with leukaemia had not heard of it prior to diagnosis, with a further 83% not suspecting cancer before their diagnosis.
This can be traced back to the vague nature of the symptoms. They can include fatigue, fever and night sweats, bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath, and bone or joint pain. As a result, the symptoms are often mistaken for more common, unrelated conditions.
These findings have informed Leukaemia CARE’s campaign for Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Called Spot Leukaemia, the campaign is encouraging the public and health professionals to improve their understanding of leukaemia and its symptoms.
The Worcester MP spoke to Leukaemia CARE CEO, Monica Izmajlowicz, Head of Campaigns and Advocacy, Zack Pemberton-Whiteley and patient campaigner Kris Griffin about the latest campaign, including the need to raise awareness of leukaemia symptoms amongst health professionals. On average, a GP may encounter just one leukaemia case every four or five years, and the report discovered 1 in 5 patients visited their GP three or more times with symptoms before diagnosis.
Monica Izmajlowicz said,
“It was fantastic to meet Mr Walker today to share the work of the charity, as well as being able to pose the questions which are most pertinent to blood cancer patients at this time. We look forward to being able to share future campaigns from the charity with him in the future”.
Robin Walker MP said,
“It’s fantastic to meet a thriving national charity which is based here in Worcester. Leukaemia Care is working incredibly hard to offer support to blood cancer patients as well as campaigning on the issues that really matter. I look forward to hearing about their future campaigns”.
“As well as working with patients to provide valuable support and advice the charity is running campaigns to raise awareness of the symptoms of Leukaemia with doctors and patients alike, and I was impressed to hear of the impact of their ongoing Spot Leukaemia campaign.”
If you’d like to find out more about the Spot Leukaemia campaign, head to the charity’s website: http://www.leukaemiacare.org.uk/spot-leukaemia