Word on Health

Word on Blood Cancers

Our grateful thanks to the charity Blood Cancer UK for their contribution to our on-air report, which you can hear again further down this page. The Blood Cancer UK website provides more detailed information and a gateway to help and support  - which you can access here. 

As was highlighted in our radio report there are 130 different blood cancers/disorders. Broadly, there are three main types of blood cancer

  • leukaemia
  • lymphoma
  • myeloma

Who gets blood cancer? All blood cancers are caused by faults in certain genes. Unlike other cancers, the factors that contribute to blood cancer developing are largely things we can't control, such as age.

  • Blood cancers can affect anyone, at any point in their life: with some exceptions, most types are more common in older people though.
  • Some types of blood cancer are slightly more common in women than men and vice versa.
  • Some types of blood cancer are slightly more common in some ethnicities.
  • Blood cancer rarely runs in the families.
  • Sometimes treatment for a previous cancer or lowered immunity can contribute to you getting blood cancer.
  • Although researchers are looking into links blood cancer may have with some infections and viruses, you can't catch blood cancer.
  • There are no known links between blood cancer and lifestyle factors such as diet, or environmental factors such as radiation - unless at a level you'd never be exposed to in everyday life.

Symptoms It’s important to remember that not everyone will have the same (or even any) symptoms.

Each person is different. There are many different types of symptoms which might lead a GP or hospital team to suspect blood cancer. The symptoms you get tend to be linked to the type of blood cell which is behaving abnormally.

Blood cancer symptoms can be quite vague and many of them are common with things like colds - for example tiredness, fever or an infection. Lumps are a common symptom of lymphoma, but again lumps are a common symptom of other, less serious illnesses. Because of this, it's important to consult your GP if you have symptoms (or groups of symptoms) which you think are very unusual for you, or last for longer than normal. It’s important to remember that some people may have very few symptoms or no symptoms at all. Each individual is different, and will have a different experience. 

For a full breakdown of symptoms and to access more detailed information, help and support click here to visit the Blood Cancer UK website. 


Listen to this weeks radio report

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.