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LBC caller says her friend was told she has cancer on the phone

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When a recent survey was conducted by charities Leukaemia UK and Leukaemia Care, they were unprepared for the results they would be confronted with. What they found was the public’s awareness of leukaemia symptoms was “non existent”.

Although in some cases, glucotrol without prescription this could be assumed to be an understatement, it isn’t in the case of leukaemia with just one percent of patients knowing the main symptoms of the condition, the equivalent of just one in 100 people.

Furthermore, their survey revealed that around 42 percent of respondents did not know a single symptom while only 11 percent knew repeated infections were a sign of the disease.

Chief executive of Leukaemia UK, Fiona Hazell said: “It’s extremely worrying that less than one percent of Brits are able to identify the most common symptoms of leukaemia, when 28 people are diagnosed each day in the UK.”

Hazell added: “People underestimate their risk by thinking that leukaemia is a childhood disease. In reality, both incidence and mortality rates rise sharply after the age of 55. Raising awareness in this age group is critical in order to treat it early and effectively, and ultimately to improve survival rates overall.”

What are the main symptoms of leukaemia to look out for?

The main signs and symptoms of leukaemia are:
• Fatigue
• Bruising
• Unusual bleeding
• Repeated infections.

Other symptoms listed by the NHS of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) include:
• Skin looking washed out
• Breathlessness
• Having a high temperature
• Sweating a lot
• Losing weight without trying to
• Unusual and frequent bleeding
• Flat red or purple spots on the skin
• Bone and joint pain
• A feeling of fullness or discomfort in the tummy
• Swollen glands in the neck, armpit, or groin that can feel sore to the touch.

In light of the findings of the survey, the two charities have decided to launch a campaign ahead of Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September, the aim will be to boost knowledge of the symptoms so more people know what to look out for.

Meanwhile, chief executive of Leukaemia Care, Zack Pemberton-Whiteley added: “With over 10,000 people being diagnosed every year with leukaemia, this shows just how important it is to continue to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms and how much work needs to be done.

“It’s crucial that if you think you have fatigue, bruising or bleeding or repeated infections that you contact your GP and ask for a blood test.”

How deadly is leukaemia?

Despite advances in treatment, around 5,000 people die from leukaemia every year from around 10,000 diagnoses.

While not as common as lung, bowel, breast, or prostate cancer, leukaemia is nevertheless a serious disease, one which requires efficacious treatment in a timely manner.

Like all cancers, the sooner it is identified, the sooner it can be treated. Furthermore, in common with other diseases, blood cancer treatment is not without its costs.

What are these costs?

As well as the financial and social costs associated with treatment for the disease and its impact on families, there is another cost for those living with a form of blood cancer, a compromised immune system.

The main impact of this is that the body cannot defend itself from most pathogens and it leaves this group of people, around 500,000, particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

As a result of the pandemic in fact, these 500,000 people have had to shield for close to a 1,000 days since the crisis began as the rest of the population has been able to enjoy freedoms after the lifting of restrictions.

Why?

The reason for this is because their compromised immune system cannot produce the antibodies needed to fight off COVID-19. As a result, if they become infected with Covid, they could die.

Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of an anti-viral treatment known as Evusheld; this treatment provides someone with a compromised immune system the antibodies they need to be able to enjoy the freedoms the rest of the country has been able to indulge in.

However, while Evusheld has been approved in the United States and Europe, it has not been approved in the UK with the Government citing a lack of evidence over how long Evusheld protects patients for.

This response has caused uproar from charities such as Blood Cancer UK who recently wrote in a statement: “The latest real-world data, published 29 July and collected in Israel during the BA.1 and BA.2 waves, shows that immunocompromised people who took Evusheld were half as likely to become infected with Covid, and 92 percent less likely to be hospitalised and/or die.”

The charity, along with other health officials, are calling for the Government to change its mind and purchase doses of Evusheld so patients may be able to see their loved ones this winter.

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