Womans first three symptoms of cancer – and the one that got her to see her GP

Spot Leukaemia urge adults to check for signs of disease

Young Alison, from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, had moved house, started a new relationship, and saw her sister get married.

A blood test, however, revealed an increase in white blood cells – not that anyone followed up on the abnormality.

With so much going on in her life, when Alison started to lose weight and felt tired, she didn’t think too much of it.

The years went on by, the fatigue remained and she started to bruise more easily.

It was three years after that blood test when Alison thought pain on the left side of her body was due to indigestion.

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As the pain became unbearable, Alison sought medical attention from the GP.

Referred to the hospital for blood tests, Alison received news the next day that would change her life.

A haematologist broke the news to Alison that she had cancer – chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)

The NHS says this rare type of cancer affects the bone marrow and white blood cells.

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The disease develops slowly, over several years, and can cause:

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Paleness
  • Taking longer to recover from illnesses
  • Aches and pains in the bones
  • Loss of appetite
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Swollen stomach
  • Night sweats
  • Headache.

Less common symptoms might include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Swollen or painful joints.

Alison began treatment to reduce her white blood cell count and underwent a bone marrow biopsy.

Treatment involves targeted cancer medicines, the NHS says, and some people may be offered chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant.

It’s been more than five years since Alison learned of her cancer.

She has since married and had a baby girl, telling Leukaemia Care: “I’m thankful I’m still here.”

Anybody experiencing symptoms of cancer is urged by the charity to ask their GP for a blood test.

For more information on the cancer, you can visit the Spot Leukaemia website.

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