September is blood cancer awareness month

The blood is made up of different types of blood cells. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow – a spongy material in the middle of our bones. Normally millions of new blood cells are made every day.

There are three main types of blood cells:

  • red blood cells, which carry oxygen
  • platelets, which help the blood to clot
  • white blood cells, which fight and prevent infection.

Blood cancers develop when blood cells aren’t made properly. Blood cancers include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. There are lots of possible signs and symptoms of blood cancers.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps or swellings
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Persistent, recurrent or severe infections
  • Unexplained fever (38°C or above)
  • Unexplained rash or itchy skin
  • Bone, joint or abdominal pain
  • Tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep
  • Breathlessness
  • Unusually pale complexion

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

If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms or are concerned about any new symptom you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.

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