September is Leukaemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, we’re taking part by raising awareness of the conditions and how stem cells can help.
Leukaemia is cancer of the blood; there are 4 main subtypes of leukaemia:
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)
Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML)
Leukaemia is the 11th most prevalent cancer in the UK and affects people across all age groups and ethnicities and is the most prevalent cancer in children, accounting for 31% of cancers diagnosed.
The symptoms of Leukaemia can be quite generic; some of the symptoms for AML are bone or joint pains, breathlessness, fever, tiredness, frequent infections, pale skin and easily bruised skin. This list is not exhaustive but if you or your child are presenting with these symptoms it is best to discuss them with your GP. While it is highly unlikely that these symptoms are caused by AML it is important to get them investigated as early detection saves lives.
One of the treatments for Leukaemia is a stem cell transplant. When in need of a stem cell transplant doctors will turn to family members to donate bone marrow or to a public bank if a stem cell match cannot be found within the family. However, in the instance that a cord blood sample is available within the family, the odds of a family match being found are increased as cord blood is easier to match and graft to a patient than bone marrow.
Over the course of the week we will be looking at the causes, symptoms and risk factors of leukaemia as well as taking a look at stem cells. We will introduce you to some real-life stories of leukaemia sufferers, including Casey Turner’s story and how Cells4Life have helped her.