Blood cancer: Worthing mum joins campaign to raise awareness as leading UK charity fears cases are being missed due to symptoms being similar to Covid-19
A Worthing mum is supporting a new campaign to raise awareness of blood cancer, as a leading UK charity fears cases are being missed due to symptoms being similar to Covid-19.
Jemma Thrower, 25, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma in April, as a new mum with a baby daughter.
In her case, her cancer was masked by pregnancy, but the charity Blood Cancer UK says Covid-19 could also mean our third biggest cancer killer is being missed.
More than half of British adults cannot even name any symptom of blood cancer, according to a new poll released yesterday, and the charity is calling for urgent public awareness as a result.
Kate Keightley, head of support services at Blood Cancer UK, said: “Sadly, symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss and night sweats can sometimes be dismissed or downplayed and the result can be devastating.
“During the height of the pandemic, we saw far fewer people being diagnosed with blood cancer and one of the reasons for this could be that some of the symptoms of blood cancer are easily mistaken for Covid.
“It’s extremely worrying that public awareness that these could be signs of blood cancer continues to be so low.
“Getting diagnosed as early as possible can really help improve the success of treatment for a number of types of blood cancer. We’re also concerned the pandemic has put people off going to their GP and the impact this is having on catching cancer early.
“If you have symptoms that cannot be explained and are persistent, you should urgently make an appointment with your GP. While it is unlikely to be anything serious, it’s so important to get checked out.”
Jemma began getting hip pain a few months into her pregnancy in 2019. Initially, it was thought to be sciatica, a common complaint in pregnancy, but the pain grew worse and worse until she was sent for a blood test in March this year.
After a week in hospital, where she had several scans and biopsies, Jemma was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma. As a new mum with a baby daughter now facing an eight-month course of chemotherapy, the diagnosis was extremely worrying.
Jemma said: “Hearing the word cancer, my heart dropped to my stomach and I thought immediately of my daughter and what that meant for my family.
“But after researching the disease on Blood Cancer UK’s website, it became apparent many people survived this form of cancer and that my life didn’t have to stop, not forever anyway.”
Jemma is thankful for the research Blood Cancer UK has completed over the past 60 years so that she and others like her are able to undergo treatment to cure the disease. She added: “I, along with several thousand others, don’t have to fear for my life. Instead, I’m able to look cancer in the eye.”
Blood Cancer UK provides information and support for anyone affected by blood cancer. To speak to a member of its trained blood cancer support team in confidence, call free on 0808 2080 888.
To donate to Blood Cancer UK and help fund research into the disease text ‘BECAUSE’ to 70577 to donate £20 (terms and conditions apply)
Blood cancer symptoms can be varied and often very vague. People can have just one or many of these before diagnosis – and in some cases, none at all:
• Persistent and unexplained tiredness
• Unexplained weight loss
• Unexplained bruising and/or bleeding
• Persistent infection
• Drenching night sweats
• Lumps or swellings in the neck, head, groin or stomach
• Bone/joint pain