You may have heard of leukaemia or lymphoma but did you know it’s up there as the third most prevalent cancer in Australia, claiming more lives each year than breast and skin cancer?
Both leukaemia and lymphoma along with myeloma are all forms of blood cancer that affect either the blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system.
As such an invasive cancer that shows up in so many forms and can make treatment challenging, we at Francesca want to do all we can to support such a worthy cause.
For the month of November, we’ve decided to dedicate our awareness bracelet to the Leukaemia Foundation to help raise much needed funds for further research and support those undergoing leukaemia treatment.
While there are a broad range of blood cancers, we want to shine a light on leukaemia as it’s not only the most common cancer diagnosis in Australian children (which breaks our heart!), but also has only a five year survival rate of 61 per cent, according to Cancer Council Australia.
Scary stuff huh? To help lessen the overwhelm and provide further support and education, we’ve not only designed a Leukaemia Foundation awareness bracelet (available online here), but also created an overview of what leukaemia is, important signs and symptoms to look out for, treatment options and a guide on how to help.
Read on to learn more about leukaemia and access further resources for blood cancer support below.
What is Leukaemia?
As explained on the Leukaemia Foundation website...
“Leukaemia is the general name given to a group of cancers that develop in the bone marrow.”
Leukaemia develops in the blood cells as a result of a malignant change. What this means is that the cells multiply in an uncontrolled way and don’t mature as they should, which means they are unable to function properly.
As a complex form of blood cancer, leukaemia can result in developing white blood cells or other blood-forming cells such as red cells or developing platelets, but most often develop in white cells.
To learn more about the types of leukaemia, read more on the official Leukaemia Foundation website here.
Scarily, often leukaemia can be a silent cancer, showing no obvious symptoms when it develops. If symptoms do appear they can be mild and only worsen in time.
The symptoms as outlined on the Cancer Council website can include:
- Feeling tired and having anaemia or anaemic symptoms such as pale complexion, weakness and breathlessness.
- Repeated infections (mouth sores, sore throat, fevers, sweats, coughing, frequent passing of urine with irritation, infected cuts and scratches, and boils)
- An increase in bruising and bleeding.
Less obvious symptoms can also include:
- Bone or chest pain.
- Swollen or tender gums.
- Skin rashes.
- Vision problems.
- Enlarged lymph glands.
- Enlarged spleen that may cause pain or discomfort.
How is leukaemia treated?
With so many varying diagnoses for leukaemia it’s not a ‘one size fits all approach.’ If you are concerned about symptoms or wanting more information on treatment it’s so important to talk to a trusted GP, cancer specialist or a medical professional.
For further support on getting support during your diagnosis and treatment, check out the Leukaemia Foundation’s dedicated page on living with blood cancer and seeking support here.
Light the Night is the Leukaemia Foundation’s beautiful evening lantern walk, where Australians come together and transform the darkness into a sea of glowing light to beat blood cancer. Credit Leukaemia Foundation
How can I help?
For anyone in our Francesca community who wishes to help, there are a myriad of ways you can spread the light and love to those facing leukaemia.
Firstly, you can begin by purchasing a Leukaemia Foundation awareness bracelet during November (buy online here). For every purchase, $20 will be donated directly to the Leukaemia Foundation.
Alternatively, you can also learn more on the Leukaemia Foundation support page here about how to care for those affected or organise a fundraising initiative by checking out their ‘Get Involved’ page here.