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New research reveals less than 1% of adults in Wales are aware of leukaemia symptoms

24 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay.

People in Wales are being urged to take notice of the symptoms of leukaemia, as new research published today shows that only 1% of those surveyed were able to identify all four of the most widely reported symptoms – fatigue, bruising, unusual bleeding and repeated infections.

Leukaemia is a form of blood cancer which is diagnosed in over 10,000 people in the UK every year.

Overall survival for leukaemia stands at just over 50% – making it one of the most deadly forms of cancer, with early diagnosis a key factor in effective treatment.

The research, conducted on behalf of leading charities Leukaemia UK and Leukaemia Care also found that over a third (34%) of respondents from Wales could not recognise any of the four most widely reported symptoms of the disease, which kills 5,000 people a year in the UK.

Only 16% of respondents across Wales recognised that repeated infections – one of the most common symptoms of leukaemia – are a symptom, only 26% said unusual bruising is a symptom and only 14% said unusual bleeding is a symptom.

Only 52% of respondents were not able to recognise fatigue as a symptom – which is often the most likely symptom to be identified by those later diagnosed with leukaemia.

New campaign

The charities have launched a new campaign to raise awareness of symptoms ahead of Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September.

As well as the main symptoms of the disease, the campaign also points out some of the lesser-known symptoms including fever or night sweats, bone or joint pain and swollen lymph nodes.

Fiona Hazell, chief executive of Leukaemia UK, describe the results of the research as “extremely worrying”.

“People underestimate their risk by thinking that leukaemia is a childhood disease,” she added

“In reality, both incidence and mortality rates rise sharply after the age of 55.

“Raising awareness in this age group is critical in order to treat it early and effectively, and ultimately to improve survival rates overall.”

Raise awareness

Zack Pemberton-Whiteley, chief executive of Leukaemia Care, added: “The recent findings are extremely worrying. Early diagnosis of leukaemia can improve survival.

“With over 10,000 people being diagnosed every year with leukaemia, this shows just how important it is to continue to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms and how much work needs to be done.

“It’s crucial that if you think you have fatigue, bruising or bleeding or repeated infections that you contact your GP and ask for a blood test.”

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms and you think something might not be right, contact your GP and ask for a blood test or call our freephone helpline on 08088 010 444.

The most common symptoms of leukaemia are:

Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
Unusual bleeding
Repeated infections
Fever or night sweats
Bone or joint pain

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