Our haematology service shares how to spot the signs of blood cancer


Our haematology service shares how to spot the signs of blood cancer

41,000 people are diagnosed with a blood cancer in the UK each year, with one in every 16 men and one in every 22 women developing it at some point in their lives. The most well-known types of blood cancer include leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, but there are many types with different symptoms, treatments, and prognoses.

Blood cancer is a type of cancer that affects the DNA in your blood cells. These cells become abnormal and stop working properly, so the blood is less able to carry out its role in keeping your body healthy, such as by fighting off infections or helping to repair injury.

Being diagnosed with cancer can be an incredibly scary and anxious time, but thankfully our friendly haematology teams are here to help.

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and as the fifth most common cancer in the UK, raising awareness of blood cancer is critical – knowing the signs and symptoms of blood cancer could well help to save a life.

Becky Carty, our lymphoma clinical nurse specialist, explains why:

“Blood cancer can be hard to diagnose, as symptoms can be complex and are not well recognised. They are often over-looked or downplayed as a normal illness or virus, and this can lead to cases being diagnosed late, or devastatingly, sometimes not at all.

“It’s also important to highlight that it can affect people of all ages. While it’s the most common type of childhood cancer, with more than 500 children aged under 15 diagnosed with blood cancer each year, the risk of blood cancer increases as you get older. Just under 40% of people diagnosed with it are aged 75 or over. This means that no one is ruled out from having blood cancer.”

The most common symptoms include:

  • Repeated infections
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing joint pains
  • Fever
  • Breathlessness
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged glands

If you’re interested in finding out more about the signs and symptoms, and what to do if you spot any, visit the Blood Cancer UK website.