The nine key signs of leukaemia as awareness described as ‘non-existent’
“Extremely worrying” new research has found that awareness of the symptoms of leukaemia is “non-existent”. While most people have heard of the blood cancer, only 1pc of the population can identify its four most widely reported symptoms, according to a joint poll by the charities Leukaemia UK and Leukaemia Care.
According to the findings of the research, there is also confusion over who is impacted by the sickness. According to Fiona Hazell, who serves as the chief executive officer of Leukaemia UK, “Leukaemia affects people of all ages, yet the majority of people believe it’s a disease that affects children.”
“We found those over 55 are underestimating their risk, with only 11pc thinking their age group and above were most likely to receive a diagnosis. In reality, cases rise sharply after the age of 55 and 38pc of all new cases occur in the over 75s. Raising awareness in all age groups is critical in order to make sure leukaemia is treated early and effectively.”
Leukemia is a form of blood cancer that interferes with the creation of blood cells as well as their normal function. According to Leukaemia UK, blood cancers, which typically begin in the bone marrow, are the third-biggest cancer killer and the fifth most common cancer in the UK. Leukaemia UK has teamed up with Leukaemia Care for the #SpotLeukaemia campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the symptoms ahead of Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September. Blood cancers typically begin when abnormal cells in the bone marrow become infected with cancerous cells.
According to Zack Pemberton-Whitely, the Chief Executive Officer of Leukaemia Care, “We understand that the symptoms of leukaemia can be confused with other common illnesses. However, to find out that less than one percent of the general public in the UK are able to identify the most common symptoms of leukaemia is extremely concerning.” The earlier leukemia is diagnosed, the better the prognosis for the patient. The results of a recent study that we conducted demonstrate how vital it is to continue bringing attention to the symptoms of leukemia, given the fact that over 10,000 individuals are given a diagnosis of leukemia each year.
Visit your primary care physician for guidance if you are concerned about any of these symptoms. The following is a list of some of the most frequent symptoms of leukemia, which might be difficult to recognize due to the fact that they are not always specific:
“Fatigue is by far the most common symptom experienced by leukaemia patients prior to their diagnosis,” says Pemberton-Whitely. “We know that 56% of leukaemia patients will experience fatigue in the lead-up to diagnosis.”
This fatigue can be severe and enduring, and it frequently does not go away even after an adequate amount of sleep has been obtained.
Unexplained weight loss
According to Hazell, having leukemia can cause you to lose a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time for no apparent reason.
Bruising and bleeding easily
If you have inexplicable bruising, often in strange areas, that takes more time than normal to fade, it might be an indication of leukemia. Everyone gets bruises sometimes, but having unexplained bruising could be a sign of leukemia. Pemberton-Whitely cautions that nosebleeds for no apparent reason may potentially be a sign. “One of the most prevalent symptoms linked with a leukaemia diagnosis is bruising or bleeding. Frequent bruising and bleeding precede a diagnosis of leukaemia in 24 percent of patients.”
Swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes that have become swollen can be recognized by the appearance of lumps beneath the skin in the groin, armpit, or neck regions of the body. They will often enlarge if you have an illness or an allergy, but according to Pemberton, they can also be an indication that you have leukemia. – Whitely, in especially if they continue for longer than two weeks, do not cause any discomfort, become hard or immovable, or grow in size.
Swollen and/or painful stomach
According to Hazell, another symptom may be a severe stomachache or an increase in the size of the stomach. Having the sensation of being full all the time might be another concerning indicator.
Infections are common and everyone will acquire them at some point in their lives; however, persistent or recurrent infections may point to a more serious underlying condition, such as leukemia. Specific symptoms, according to Pemberton-Whitely, include a cough that is persistent or long-lasting, a fever or chest infection, and possibly small skin cuts that get infected more frequently. She also notes that patients frequently misdiagnose their symptoms as being those of the flu or other infections, and as a result, they initially disregard them as being harmless. When it comes to making an accurate diagnosis of leukemia at an early stage, this presents a significant challenge.
According to Hazell, the temperature at which night sweats occur and how much you sweat may suggest whether or not it’s an indication of leukemia. Night sweats are a typical indicator of other body changes, such as the menopause. She recommends making an appointment with your primary care physician if you experience night sweats that are persistent, cause you to be drenched in perspiration, or take place in chilly locations.
Joint or bone pain
According to Hazell, bone pain brought on by leukemia is typically experienced in the arms and legs, as well as the ribs and sternum of the rib cage, as well as possibly in the ankles or wrists. Joint pain can be brought on by a wide variety of common conditions, such as arthritis or even just a simple injury. There is also a possibility of swelling in the major joints, such as the shoulders and hips. The pain in one or more bones may be severe and stabbing, or it may be a continual dull aching.