In her case, her cancer was masked by pregnancy, but the Blood Cancer UK charity says Covid-19 could also mean our third largest cancer killer is missing.
More than half of UK adults cannot even name a symptom of blood cancer, according to a new poll released yesterday, and the charity is calling for urgent public attention.
Jemma Thrower, 25, was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma in April as a new mother with a young daughter
Kate Keightley, Head of Support Services at Blood Cancer UK said, “Unfortunately symptoms like fatigue, weight loss and night sweats can sometimes be dismissed or downplayed and the results can be devastating.
“Far fewer people were diagnosed with blood cancer during the height of the pandemic, and one of the reasons could be that some of the symptoms of blood cancer are easily mistaken for Covid.
“It is extremely worrying that public awareness that these could be signs of blood cancer remains so low.
“Getting a diagnosis as early as possible can really help improve treatment outcomes for a number of blood cancers. We are also concerned that the pandemic is preventing people from seeing their GP and the impact this is having on the early detection of cancer.
“If you have unexplained and persistent symptoms, you should urgently make an appointment with your family doctor. While it’s unlikely to be serious, it’s so important to get examined. ”
Jemma started having hip pain a few months after she was pregnant in 2019. At first it was thought to be sciatica, a common complaint in pregnancy, but the pain kept getting worse until she was sent for a blood test in March this year.
After a week in the hospital, where she had multiple scans and biopsies, Jemma was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. As a new mom with a young daughter facing eight months of chemotherapy, the diagnosis was extremely worrying.
Jemma said, “When I heard the word cancer, my heart hit my stomach and I immediately thought of my daughter and what it meant for my family.
“But after researching the disease on the Blood Cancer UK website, it became clear that many people survived this form of cancer and that my life didn’t have to stop, at least not forever.”
Jemma is grateful for the research Blood Cancer UK has done over the past 60 years so that she and others like her can undergo treatment to cure the disease. She added: “Along with several thousand others, I don’t have to fear for my life. Instead, I can look cancer in the eye. ”
Blood Cancer UK provides information and support to anyone affected by blood cancer. To speak in confidence with a member of his trained blood cancer support team, call the toll-free number 0808 2080 888.
To donate to Blood Cancer UK and aid disease text research “BECAUSE” to 70577 for a donation of £ 20 (Terms & Conditions apply)
The symptoms of blood cancer can be varied and often very vague. People may only have one or more of these before diagnosis – and in some cases none at all:
• Persistent and unexplained fatigue
• Inexplicable weight loss
• unexplained bruising and / or bleeding
• Soaking night sweats
• Lumps or swellings in the neck, head, groin, or abdomen
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