More than half of British adults cannot name any symptoms of blood cancer, a survey has suggested, as a charity warned some signs could be mistaken for coronavirus.
Blood Cancer UK’s poll of 2,035 adults found 56% said they did not know any symptoms, up from 52% of people asked the same question in 2018.
It said the increasing lack of public awareness of the condition – the third biggest cancer killer in the UK – is “extremely worrying”.
The findings, which come a day ahead of the beginning of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, showed that just 1% of those recently polled correctly identified having a fever as a sign of the disease.
Breathlessness was a symptom identified by just 3%, prompting concerns from the charity that this sign, as well as fever and tiredness, could be confused with Covid-19 symptoms and left undiagnosed.
The charity said awareness of other symptoms had remained similar to 2018 levels.
Kate Keightley, head of support services at the charity, said: “Sadly, symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss and night sweats can sometimes be dismissed or downplayed and the result can be devastating.
“During the height of the pandemic, we saw far fewer people being diagnosed with blood cancer, and one of the reasons for this could be that some of the symptoms of blood cancer are easily mistaken for Covid.
“It’s extremely worrying that public awareness that these could be signs of blood cancer continues to be so low.”
She urged anyone who thinks they have persistent symptoms that cannot be explained to make an appointment “urgently” with their GP.
The charity said blood cancer symptoms can be varied and often very vague and include persistent and unexplained tiredness, unexplained weight loss, unexplained bruising and/or bleeding, persistent infection, breathlessness, drenching night sweats, lumps or swellings in the neck, head, groin or stomach, and bone or joint pain.
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