Alison, a 25-year-old woman, initially attributed her weight loss, bruising, and extreme tiredness to the busy events happening in her life. However, when her fatigue became unbearable, she decided to have a blood test. The results showed an increased white blood count, but unfortunately, it was not followed up for three years. It was only when Alison experienced excruciating pain in her left side that she sought further medical help. She went to the GP, who immediately sent her to the hospital for blood tests. Later that evening, she received a life-changing call informing her that she likely had chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), a form of blood cancer.
Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a slowly progressing blood cancer that affects the white blood cells known as myeloid cells. Approximately 750 individuals are diagnosed with leukaemia each year in the UK, with CML accounting for about 15 out of every 100 cases. The disease has three stages: chronic phase, accelerated phase, and blast phase. In the chronic phase, symptoms are usually vague and less noticeable. The accelerated phase is characterized by increased blast cells in the blood and bone marrow, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, and frequent infections. The blast phase is the final stage, where the cancer becomes more aggressive, and noticeable and extreme symptoms may occur.
After her diagnosis, Alison underwent treatment to reduce her white blood count and confirmed her diagnosis through a bone marrow biopsy. She was later enrolled in a trial treatment that worked successfully for her, allowing her to conceive and have a healthy baby girl. Alison remains on her medications and is doing well.
Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that affects individuals of all ages. In the UK, 27 people are diagnosed with the disease daily, totaling nearly 10,000 cases annually. The overall survival rate for leukaemia is just over 50%. However, a recent study found that one in three people cannot recognize the commonly reported symptoms of fatigue, bruising, unusual bleeding, and repeated infections associated with the disease.
If anyone experiences these symptoms, Leukaemia Care urges them to consult their GP and request a blood test. Early detection and prompt medical intervention are crucial in improving outcomes for individuals with leukaemia.
– Leukaemia Care: www.leukaemiacare.org.uk
– Spot Leukaemia: www.spotleukaemia.org.uk