Only one in 100 people ‘aware of leukaemia symptoms’, poll shows

Only one in 100 people ‘aware of leukaemia symptoms’, poll shows

Leading charities have raised concerns over the population’s “non-existent” awareness of leukaemia symptoms after a new poll revealed only 1% of people know the four main symptoms.

The main signs of the cancer of the white blood cells are fatigue, bruising, unusual bleeding and repeated infections.

But a new poll for the charities Leukaemia UK and Leukaemia Care found that just one in 100 people were able to identify all four of the main symptoms.

Some 42% could not recognise a single symptom.

The survey of 2,000 British adults found that just 11% of respondents from across the UK recognised that repeated infections are a sign of leukaemia; only 29% said unusual bruising is a symptom and only 12% said unusual bleeding is a symptom. Two-thirds (66%) did not know fatigue is a symptom.

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.

They urged anyone concerned about symptoms to contact their GP.

Fiona Hazell, chief executive of Leukaemia UK, said: “It’s extremely worrying that less than 1% of Brits are able to identify the most common symptoms of leukaemia, when 28 people are diagnosed each day in the UK.

“People underestimate their risk by thinking that leukaemia is a childhood disease.

“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.”

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.”

Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with leukaemia every year in the UK, and around 5,000 people die from the disease each year.

It comes as a separate poll found that only half of over 55s are aware that drinking alcohol is linked to a higher risk of cancer.

But younger adults appear to be more tuned into the risks, with 67% being aware of the link, according to a World Cancer Research Fund survey of 2,000 adults from around the UK.

The charity has released some tips to help people reduce their alcohol intake including opting for the smallest serving; alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones or diluting drinks to help them last longer.

Rachael Gormley, chief executive of World Cancer Research Fund, said: “These new findings are really striking and go to show we still have a way to go before people are fully aware of the causes of cancer, and the steps we can all take to prevent it. As we all enjoy the summer season, why not give our tips for cutting back on alcohol a try?”

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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