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Woman shares her initial symptoms of ‘incurable’ blood cancer myeloma

Myeloma Awareness Week campaign highlights disease

“I wasn’t someone for going to the GP unless I really thought I needed to, but people at work kept telling me to go,” Sarah revealed.

Sarah, from Weston-super-Mare, said: “I didn’t know I had myeloma for a while because I thought I was coming down with very bad flu. I was aching very badly… I just felt awful.”

On what was supposed to be an enjoyable mini-break, Sarah was “in a lot of pain”.

She elaborated: “My ribs were killing me. The road by the coast was extremely hilly and I could barely walk up to the cottage [as] I was getting out of breath.”

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Visiting her GP, Sarah learned she had four broken ribs, then later tests revealed she had myeloma – a type of blood cancer.

“When I found out it was myeloma, I didn’t cope with it well,” Sarah shared.

This is why Sarah is keen on urging others to “know your body” and to seek medical attention “if something hasn’t gone after a couple of weeks”.

Sarah said: “You don’t want to be there five months later thinking, it still hasn’t gone. If it’s not myeloma, brilliant. But you won’t know until you go.”

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Myeloma UK explains: “Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a blood cancer arising from plasma cells [a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow].

“Unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumour.”

The most common symptoms of myeloma include:

  • Bone pain
  • Recurring infection
  • Kidney damage
  • Fatigue.

While myeloma is “an incurable (terminal) cancer”, treatment is available to help relieve symptoms and complications.

Myeloma UK says: “Myeloma is a relapsing-remitting cancer.” This means the symptoms of the disease can flare-up followed by periods of remission when the cancer doesn’t need treatment.

“Each year in the UK, approximately 5,700 people are diagnosed with myeloma,” the charity points out.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are around 851 people who “remain unidentified”.

Sarah is teaming up with Myeloma UK to help find the 851 people currently living with undiagnosed myeloma in the UK.

Myeloma UK Chief Executive Sophie Castell said: “The most important thing people can do is rule themselves out by checking their symptoms and, if anything isn’t right, go see their GP.

“It might take more than one appointment for your doctor to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

“So please keep pushing or ask for a second opinion. Together we’ll find the missing 851.”

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