Nearly a third of blood cancer cases are only diagnosed after emergency hospital admissions.
A Cancer Patient Experience Survey by blood cancer charity Bloodwise has revealed that thousands of blood cancer sufferers are diagnosed later than they should be, with around 30 per cent having to see their GP three or more times before being diagnosed.
The survey also found that around the same percentage of blood cancer cases are only diagnosed once the patient has been admitted in an emergency case.
The organisation also found that many of those suffering from the condition claim to have found it difficult to get their GPs to take the symptoms seriously.
Diana Elkins, whose father Trevor passed away from blood cancer after visiting his GP 12 times, told the charity that he only received an accurate diagnosis for his persistent cough, weight loss, back pain, rash and a lump in his groin after being admitted to A&E.
He sadly lost his life just two weeks later.
“His symptoms were typical of his type of blood cancer,” Diana told Bloodwise, “but he trusted his GP and never made a fuss or questioned why he wasn’t tested for cancer or sent to see a specialist, even though he continued to suffer symptoms for a year.
“In the end he was in so much agony and could barely move that I had to take him to A&E. He was distressed on the journey there, it was very frightening.
“He was then admitted to intensive care and finally diagnosed with blood cancer. He never came home.”
Bloodwise has now launched a petition to try and prevent cases like Trevor’s, calling on the NHS and governments across the UK to support GPs.
The group want GPs to receive support to ensure that they are using the latest guidance on blood cancer symptoms in order to make a proper diagnosis.
They also hope that the support will encourage GPs to follow up with patients whose symptoms might be blood cancer as well as refer those with signs for further tests if their symptoms don’t improve.
‘Our organisational view is that reducing late diagnosis could save thousands of lives over a five-year period, particularly for some types of blood cancer,’ says Bloodwise. ‘This view is shared by the Westminster Government and NHS England who have made diagnosis of all cancers a major priority.
‘As well as the impact on survival rates and quality of life, addressing late diagnosis would also have a big positive psychological impact, as people often find the prolonged challenge of finding out what is wrong with them extremely distressing’.
Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.
Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).
But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.
When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).
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