Despite lymphoma being the sixth most common cancer in the UK, nearly 40% of people diagnosed with lymphatic cancer delayed visiting their GP after showing initial symptoms.
Recent research carried out by the Lymphoma Association confirmed the charity's opinion that awareness of the symptoms of lymphoma are low, meaning that people showing these symptoms may put off a visit to their doctor. In fact, of the 1,159 people surveyed, 20.7% had put their symptoms down to a virus, 19.6% assumed they were just run down and 19.5% attributed their symptoms to the menopause. Only 18.5% thought they may have cancer or another serious health condition.
The patient sample was also asked about their own initial and subsequent symptoms. The results showed that 58.8% had experienced an initial lump or swelling, often in the neck, armpit or groin. Other symptoms included tiredness, profuse sweating, itching and unexplained weight loss. The charity hopes that by raising awareness of the symptoms of lymphatic cancer, people showing these symptoms will be encouraged to visit their doctor.
As Melanie Burfitt, chief executive of the Lymphoma Association, explains: "Nearly 11,000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma each year, though many people haven't even heard of it until they are affected. Prompt diagnosis is key to successful treatment. We want to encourage anyone who has initial symptoms (lumps, itching, excessive sweating at night, tiredness) which don't go away, to visit their GP as a priority."