Learning symptoms can save lives

02 October 2019

Blood cancers are the third biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK, but a national survey* has revealed less than two in 10 people are confident they could identify the symptoms.

The survey, carried out by cancer charity Bloodwise, showed that more than half of the people questioned said they didn’t know any of the symptoms at all.

Now as part of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout September, campaigners are spreading the message so that more people will seek early treatment.

At Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, near Birmingham Consultant Haematologist Dr Emmanouil Nikolousis said: “Blood cancer does not describe a single condition, but rather a group of conditions, which affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system (part of the immune system).

“These diseases are, unfortunately, relatively common so recognising symptoms early is really important in order to achieve the best outcomes for patients.”

Symptoms for the most common types of blood cancers include:

Leukaemia: Feeling tired or weak, bruising or bleeding easily, swollen lymph nodes (lumps in the neck, armpits, groin, or under the chin), swollen stomach, fever/night sweats, pain in the bones or joints and unexplained weight loss

Lymphoma: Swollen lymph nodes, fever/night sweats, persistently feeling tired or weak, itchy skin, unexplained weight loss, coughing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, increased alcohol sensitivity or pain in the lymph nodes after drinking, swelling or feeling pain in the stomach

Myeloma: Fevers and infections, frequent broken bones, bone pain, weight loss, persistent thirst, frequent urination, nausea and constipation.

“Getting diagnosed early can improve the success of treatment for a number of types of blood cancer. If symptoms cannot be explained and are persistent, people should go to their GP.  

“While it is unlikely to be anything serious, it is important to get it checked out sooner rather than later and a simple blood test can certainly save lives,” Dr Nikolousis concluded.

Q: How quickly could I have a consultation and how much would it cost? 

A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but around £175 is a reasonable guide.

Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?

A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again, it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks. 

Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay? 

A: Yes, you can. Our self-pay team can talk you through this and explain the finance options that are available, should you wish to explore them. Call 0121 704 5530 or send us an enquiry.

*Survey involved 2,000 people in the UK.

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