Myeloma Awareness Week 2017 runs from 21-27 June. This year, our focus is on early diagnosis because for patients, every day counts.
Myeloma has one of the highest rates of delay in diagnosis, so a vital part of our campaign is to raise awareness of this rare and incurable blood cancer among healthcare professionals.
Every year in the UK, 5,500 people are diagnosed with myeloma, with 34% of patients receiving their diagnosis through A&E rather than their GP.
Monica Morris, Healthcare Professional Programme Manager at Myeloma UK, said, “Myeloma is a complex cancer with non-specific symptoms which can make it difficult to recognise and diagnose. While there are many effective treatments that are helping many patients live longer, currently there is no cure for myeloma. However, early diagnosis is vital as it can greatly improve quality of life for patients.”
Hugh Clayson is 55 years old and was diagnosed with myeloma in March 2016 – two years after he first started to experience symptoms. He is now in remission but lost three inches in height due to permanent damage to his spine, caused by myeloma.
Hugh told us, “The key is ensuring relevant health practitioners are more knowledgeable. I wish the doctors had known about this illness and tested my blood a lot earlier. If this had been done, I would not have lost three inches in height and endured the terrible pain of collapsing vertebrae.”
As part of Myeloma Awareness Week, we are unveiling our new Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway. The Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway is a visual tool to help GPs, and other healthcare professionals who might see patients with undiagnosed myeloma, spot and act on the signs and symptoms of myeloma.
Throughout the week, patients, supporters and healthcare professionals across the UK will share and distribute copies of the Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway to raise awareness of myeloma and understand more about how it is diagnosed.
Monica continues, “Myeloma UK aims to reduce delays in diagnosis and improve quality of life for myeloma patients and early diagnosis plays an important role in this.
“The Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway acts as a quick reference guide to help healthcare professionals recognise the signs and symptoms that might lead to a myeloma diagnosis. It has been carefully designed and developed with input from haematologists and primary care specialists within our newly-formed Myeloma Early Diagnosis Working Group.”
Monica added, “We encourage all our patients and supporters to take the Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway to their local GP, and also take information about our services to their haematology clinics, to help newly diagnosed patients get the information and support they need, now and in the future.”
To get involved with Myeloma Awareness Week, you can…
- ACCESS the Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway here.
- SHARE the Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway with your GP and others – help GPs better understand the signs and symptoms of myeloma
- SPREAD THE WORD, take our information to your clinic and help newly diagnosed patients get the information and support they need
- DONATE and fundraise, help us to provide vital support services to newly diagnosed patients
To support Myeloma Awareness Week, please visit: www.myeloma.org.uk/maw
If you have any questions about myeloma, contact the Myeloma Infoline on 0800 980 3332 or email AskTheNurse@myeloma.org.uk