Yarrawonga Chronicle

Australian­s in dark on blood cancer symptoms

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The research also showed that just under one third of Australian­s (30%) admitted that even if they were experienci­ng any of the main symptoms associated with blood cancer, they weren’t confident or sure that they would consult their GP about them.

With more than 110,000 Australian­s already living with a blood cancer and 15 Australian­s losing their life to one every day this year,

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said Blood Cancer Awareness Month, kickstarti­ng last week, marked a vitally important moment in time to build public understand­ing of the disease and spotlight its severity.

“Australian­s are clearly in the dark when it comes to recognisin­g the vital signs and symptoms of blood cancer, and this lack of awareness and understand­ing about this deadly set of diseases could end in a significan­t delay of diagnosis, and this could have serious consequenc­es for them,” Mr Tanti said.

“If you don’t understand what you’re looking for, you can’t possibly have a chance of finding it, and failing to identify blood cancer and diagnose it quickly can be fatal.

“Ongoing symptoms like recurrent infections, increased fatigue, night sweats, bone pain, bruising or enlarged lymph nodes should be immediatel­y discussed with your GP or blood cancer specialist.

“The vitally important first step to driving down blood cancer mortality is awareness.

“It’s crucial that we ensure Australian­s are informed enough to spot it as it develops and feel empowered and confident to seek medical attention before it’s too late.”

Blood cancer figures continue to rise year on year in Australia, with blood cancers combined recently confirmed to be the second most diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the country.

However, unlike other cancers, blood cancer can develop in anyone at any stage of life.

There is no way to prevent it through lifestyle change and there are no screening programs to detect it, making it crucially important for every Australian to be personally able to identify blood cancer symptoms.

Yet in many cases, blood cancer symptoms can be mistaken for infections like the flu or even COVID-19, which can mean people delay visiting their GP or specialist, sadly leading to a delayed blood cancer diagnosis. “Acute blood cancers often require treatment to begin in the first 48 hours after diagnosis, with any delay severely impacting survivabil­ity, so every hour counts in this fight,” Mr Tanti said.

“If you are experienci­ng symptoms, your priority must be getting to your doctor and urgently getting a blood test. “No-one is immune from developing this disease, so no Australian can afford to be complacent. Blood cancer can be quick to develop, fast to progress and tragically it can swiftly claim lives.

“So we are imploring with every individual to use this September to educate and inform yourself about blood cancer, learn to identify the symptoms and seek profession­al help if you do. Your life could literally depend on it.”

The Leukaemia Foundation recently released startling new research confirming four in five Australian­s (78%) aren’t confident they can identify the symptoms of blood cancer, leaving many at risk of a life-threatenin­g delayed diagnosis.

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