September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month but can you name any of the symptoms?

More than half of UK adults cannot name a single symptom, according to a YouGov poll, commissioned by Blood Cancer UK.

55% of 2,230 people polled said they did not know of any common signs of blood cancer despite it being the third biggest cancer killer in the country. 

Here are the symptoms you should be on the lookout for, according to the leading charity.

News Shopper: A doctor checking a patient's blood pressure. Credit: PAA doctor checking a patient's blood pressure. Credit: PA (Image: Radar)

Blood cancer symptoms you should look out for

A person with blood cancer may experience a range of the following symptoms, according to Blood Cancer UK:

  • unexplained weight loss 
  • unexplained bruising or bleeding 
  • lumps or swellings
  • shortness of breath 
  • drenching night sweats
  • persistent, recurrent or severe infections 
  • unexplained fever (37.5C or above) 
  • unexplained rash or itchy skin 
  • bone, joint or abdomen pain 
  • fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep 
  • paleness where the skin under your lower eyelid looks white rather than pink

For more information about causes, symptoms and treatment via the Blood Cancer UK website.

In the same poll, 25% of people reported that it would be somewhat or extremely unlikely for them to consult a GP if they had any of the main above symptoms.

In light of the study, the charity has expressed fears that people are confusing blood cancer symptoms with Covid-19, and so aren't getting checked.

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The respondents were also asked to list the 10 types of cancers that they were aware of.

Leukaemia and blood cancer were revealed as the 12th and 13th most commonly named in the survey.

Only 2% of people reported leukaemia at the top of their list and just 1% said blood cancer was their greatest concern.

Meanwhile, Lymphoma was the 21st on the list and Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma were 24th.

One in 19 people will be diagnosed with blood cancer nat some point in their lives and it kills more people every year in the UK than either breast or prostate cancer, the charity has said.

This statistic includes leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Kate Keightley, head of support services at Blood Cancer UK, said: “Blood cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK so it’s extremely concerning to continue to see such low public awareness of the symptoms.

“Sadly, symptoms such as night sweats and unexplained tiredness, weight loss and bruising can sometimes be dismissed or downplayed, with devastating results.

“We fear many people might also be confusing breathlessness, a fever and tiredness with Covid-19 and cases are being left undiagnosed.

“At the moment, we know that too many people are being diagnosed late, which often reduces the chance of survival, so it is so vital people get symptoms checked out as soon as possible.

“If you have symptoms that cannot be explained and are persistent, you should urgently make an appointment with your GP.”

The YouGov/Blood Cancer UK survey was carried out online from August 15-17.

The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults.