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September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and Abingdon Health is supporting the drive to increase awareness of blood cancers such as Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma.

Blood Cancer Awareness Month is designed to increase awareness of the various types of blood cancers and their symptoms. With this greater awareness it will hopefully generate more funds for research into improving the diagnosis, management and monitoring of patients with blood cancer, and of course to try and find a cure.

What is blood cancer?

Blood cancer is a term used to describe different types of cancer that affect the blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system. Blood cancers create systemic disease symptoms by interfering with the normal blood cell cycle of cell creation, differentiation, maturation and natural cell death.

Blood cancers and their symptoms

There are three main groups of blood cancers: Leukaemia (cancer of the white blood cells), Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and Multiple Myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow). Although, they are classed as different types of cancers there are some similar symptoms such as pain, lethargy and weight loss displayed by all three.

Two common symptoms of Leukaemia are bruising and bleeding, which can be easily dismissed if someone is physically active. The reason for this is due to a lack of platelets, which are tiny blood cells that help the body form clots to help stop bleeding.

Visit www.leukaemiacare.org.uk for more information about Leukaemia.

Lymphoma affects the lymphatic system, so a common system is swollen lymph nodes. People normally notice an enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin. But, lymph nodes can swell in other areas of the body.

Visit www.lymphomas.org.uk for more information about Leukaemia.

The symptoms of Multiple Myeloma can sometimes be dismissed as just the aches and pains of normal life and can be confused with a range of other conditions making diagnosis problematic. But, common symptoms are lower back pain and uncharacteristic fatigue.

Visit www.myeloma.org.uk for more information about Multiple Myeloma.

Diagnosis and management of Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma occurs when abnormal plasma cells multiply, producing and secreting antibody fragments called paraproteins into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Multiple Myeloma as yet.

Monoclonal kappa and lambda immunoglobulin free light chains (FLCs) are important markers for the diagnosis and monitoring of these disorders of the plasma cells, sometimes referred to as B-cell dyscrasias. Abingdon Health has developed a rapid diagnostic assay for the quantification of kappa and lambda free light chains to aid clinicians in the diagnosis, monitoring and management of multiple myeloma patients.

We are pleased to support Blood Cancer Awareness Month and over the course of September, we will be sharing social media posts from blood cancer charities to help raise awareness and promote the need for continued research and development to support improvements in patient care.