Katie Leason
Posted by

Blood cancer patients less likely to see their GP with early symptoms

Katie Leason
Posted by
31 Jan 2013

Research published this week suggests that people avoid going to their doctor with potentially serious symptoms because they are worried about wasting the doctor’s time.

Chris Bunce, Research Director at blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says:

“For patients with a possible blood cancer, this problem is further compounded by the fact that symptoms of blood cancer can be varied, including bruising, persistent infections, and fatigue, and can be easily mistaken for other less serious conditions. This can mean that an individual doesn’t realise they need to see a doctor, particularly in the early stages.

“For the same reasons, doctors often misdiagnose blood cancers, resulting in delays in treatment.

“We urge anyone with unusual symptoms to make an appointment with their GP.”




My husband of 45 years has been ill very little during our married life, but had 3 cases of hives in about 4 years time, with the last time having no success in getting them to let up or go away. We made a trip to urgent care when he was coughing and had hives all over, but especially around and just inside his mouth, plus he was severely hoarse all of a sudden. And he never had hives in all the time we were married. After that trip to urgent care, he went to our GP, then he was sent to an allergist/infectious disease doctor who treated him for an infection after ruling out allergies, which my husband either had a severe reaction to the antibiotic with worsening of his hives with a rash on top of that all over his body or something was going on with those hives. That dr. sent him right away to a dermatologist who did blood tests looking for RA, thyroid problems, lups and something else I can't remember, but results showed his blood was not right. So he repeated the tests thinking it was possible that the steroids for the hives might have caused the weird blood work, plus wanted to see him back in several days, giving time for blood to settle to normal if from steroids, plus put him on a regimen of 4 drugs that calmed the hives down, although made him very sleepy. Followup showed blood had changed, but not for the better, so he repeated order for bloodwork again and referred him to a hematologist. The PA ordered blood work to be examined at Mayo Clinic after reviewing his previous bloodwork of the last few weeks which revealed non-Hodgkins lymphoma - Mantle Cell subtype! So they referred him to an oncologist in Columbus OH at the James Cancer Center noted for her work with lymphoma and leukemia who confirmed through more blood tests that the diagnosis was accurate, but stated that she never had they have a patient present with hives for MCL (mantle cell lymphoma). But after his chemo got him into remission, he then was sent to a stem cell transplant specialist at the James for an autologous stem cell transplant, then released back to the same oncologist for follow-ups (continuing). She noted that since he went into remission and then was given the stem cell transplant that they had a few other patients who presented like he did for MCL!!! I figure either it's a new subtype of non-Hodgkins or the 1st subtype for MCL possibly, but who knows. But how important it was that even with hives, not the usual symptom for most blood cancers at all, that he was checked out thoroughly!!!! Now, over 2 1/2 years since diagnosis and just a little over 2 years since completion of treatment and 2 bad infections in that time as well, he is healthy and still in remission!!! Please encourage GPs to monitor blood work a little more closely because his bloodwork for a physical just several months before that last big hives outbreak had revealed things were out of kilter some on his blood work, but the GP did not pick up on it since it was not way off. Perhaps a repeat blood check a couple of months later might have revealed lymphoma a little sooner?


Or you do visit the Doctor and Dentist with symptoms of fatigue, tiredness and bruising but it is dismissed. My advice .....keep going back....only you know your body and that there is something not quite right!

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