September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and throughout the month we are raising awareness of myeloma, its signs and symptoms by sharing patient stories.
To kick the month off Myeloma UK and eight other blood cancer charities got behind the Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign, which aims to raise awareness of blood cancers.
The campaign launched with an installation in London’s Paternoster Square that features 104 three dimensional letterform sculptures representing the number of people diagnosed with a blood cancer every day in the UK. Selected myeloma patients took part in the installation and have had bespoke sculptures created to raise awareness of their experience of living with myeloma. The installation will be on display until 30 September 2017.
Anne Fleming, 68 from Cambridge, is one of the myeloma patients to be featured in the campaign. Like many other people, Anne had never heard of myeloma when she was diagnosed in 2004 after collapsing with six crushed vertebrae, “It took nine months to diagnose my myeloma as I was non-secretory. After I collapsed it took a further 10 days for the diagnosis to come through. I was put on CVAD and left hospital in a wheelchair, but I was up and walking again within four months.”
Despite relapsing twice and having two stem cell transplants, Anne lives her life to the fullest, “I am very fortunate I do not suffer from fatigue and have lots of energy. I try to fit in as many holidays as I can! I’ve been on four already this year, with the most exciting one being a tour of the Garden Route in South Africa. It was truly amazing.”
Anne has said that she is delighted to take part in the art installation and thinks that it will bring more awareness to myeloma and other blood cancers, “The one thing I wish people knew more about is how difficult diagnosis of myeloma is and to be more aware of the symptoms.”
Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. A lack of awareness about myeloma, combined with the fact that it is a complex cancer, with non-specific symptoms, can make it difficult to diagnose. Early and accurate diagnosis is a priority for us – we want to reduce delays in diagnosis and improve quality of life for all patients.
Help us increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of myeloma by taking a copy of our Myeloma Diagnosis Pathway to your GP. To get involved e-mail your name, address and the number of copies you wish to receive to firstname.lastname@example.org.