Blood cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with over 40,000 people being diagnosed with it every year.
There are about 250,000 people living with blood cancer in the UK. Around 1 in 16 men and 1 in 22 women in the UK will develop blood cancer during their lifetime.
The term blood cancer encompasses many different cancers involving the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. There are over 100 different types however the three main types of blood cancer are Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma.
Leukaemia is an umbrella term for the types of cancers that effect white blood cells and bone marrow. These cells divide too quickly and prevent the body form sufficiently fighting off infections. Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children aged up to 14, affecting over 450 children in the UK each year.
Lymphoma cancer affects the lymphatic system. This system is responsible for transmitting white blood cells around your body.
Myeloma is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells. These cells hold the function of producing a single type of antibody.
All blood cancers develop differently, some are considered acute and grow quickly while others are considered as chronic and grow at a steady rate over a longer period of time.
With all types of blood cancers, they develop within the bloodstream and can effect the production and function of both red and white blood cells.
Some of the main symptoms of a blood cancer are
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Lumps or swellings
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bone, joint or abdominal pain
- Tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest
- A usually pale complexion
As with all types of cancer, treatment options include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Blood cancer can also be treated with a stem cell transplant, obtained through donation. Suitable donors are very difficult to find and therefore an aim of Blood Cancer Awareness month is to increase the numbers of people joining the donation register by sending off their samples to a service such as Anthony Nolan.
Blood Cancer and Clinical Negligence
Being in receipt of a diagnosis of any form of cancer is a devastating time for the individual and their family affected. However, with early intervention, many individuals recover entirely.
Hospital and GP mistakes in diagnosis are therefore hugely detrimental to a patient’s treatment options and prognosis. Claims in Clinical Negligence can be brought for scenarios including:
- Delay in referring a patient experiencing symptoms to the relevant hospital Oncology service
- Delay in receiving adequate treatment in relation to a diagnosis of blood cancer
- A missed diagnosis of blood cancer
- A mistaken diagnosis of blood cancer, which may lead to unnecessary treatment
If you have experienced any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our specialist Medical Negligence Team.