Blood cancer symptoms: The 11 signs of the deadly disease

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Many types of blood cancer are now highly treatable and the five-year survival rate for blood cancer is still 70 percent on average, according to Blood Cancer UK. For the best chance of survival, it’s important to know the symptoms of blood cancer to get a diagnosis as early on as possible. reveals the 11 most common warning signs of blood cancer.

There are more than 100 different types of blood cancer, and symptoms vary depending on the type of blood cancer.

Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma are some of the most common types of blood cancer.

Blood Cancer UK explained on its website: “Not everyone will have the same symptoms…some symptoms of blood cancer can look different on different skin tones.”

The blood cancer organisation lists the following as the most obvious signs of blood cancer:

  • Weight loss that is unexplained
  • Bruising or bleeding that is unexplained
  • Lumps or swellings
  • Shortness of breath (breathlessness)
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Infections that are persistent, recurrent or severe
  • Fever (38°C or above) that is unexplained
  • Rash or itchy skin that is unexplained
  • Pain in your bones, joints or abdomen (stomach area)
  • Tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep (fatigue)
  • Paleness (pallor)

It’s worth noting that blood cancer symptoms can look very different on pale skin tones to dark skin tones.

For example, bruises, rashes and pallor vary from person to person.

Blood Cancer UK explains: “Bruises generally start as red patches which change colour and get darker over time, and they often feel tender.

“On black and brown skin, bruises may be difficult to see initially, but as they develop, they show up as darker than the skin around them.”

Rashes as a result of blood cancer often appear as clusters of tiny spots (petechiae) or larger blotches (purpura).

Blood Cancer UK pointed out: “On black and brown skin, they may look purple or darker than the surrounding skin.

“On lighter skin, they typically look red or purple. If you press on them, petechiae and purpura don’t fade.”

While pallor may be more immediately noticeable in fairer skinned people, it is noticeable on black and brown skin too.

Blood Cancer UK said: “Paleness (pallor) might mean someone looks unusually pale because they have too few red blood cells.

“People with black or brown skin may look greyish and their palms may look paler than usual.

“They might also notice pallor in their lips, gums, tongue or nail beds.

“In all skin tones, pallor can be seen by pulling down the lower eyelid.

“The inside is normally dark pink or red, but if it’s pale pink or white, it’s a sign of pallor.”

Anyone concerned about their health or symptoms should speak to a doctor immediately.

And further information about blood cancer can be found on the Blood Cancer UK website HERE.

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