This blog is published in advance of Laura’s story being shared later today at 16:30
Please share this blog and help raise awareness amongst your family, friends and colleagues
Around 30,000 people of all ages are diagnosed in the UK with a blood cancer every year.
There are many different types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Even within these categories there are sub-types, such as chronic (slow acting) and acute (fast acting) leukaemia, Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or the many different types of MDS or MPN.
Although most blood cancers tend to affect people past childbearing age, there are some conditions, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, which can commonly affect younger patients.
Because every patient and diagnosis is different, the most important thing for a patient who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant to do is to let their healthcare team know as soon as possible. It may be that alternative diagnostic tests will be used, or that egg or sperm storage is an option for prospective parents. The common treatments for many types of blood cancer are chemotherapy, radiotherapy, other medications such as steroids, and sometimes bone marrow transplants. Throughout a patient’s treatment planning, the healthcare team will provide full information and support in order to allow patients to make fully informed decisions.
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research was founded in 1960 and are the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of all blood cancer patients. Our research is focused on finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments for blood cancers, and through our Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) we also run ground-breaking clinical trials so that patients can have access to new treatments more quickly.
We’re here to beat blood cancer. We stop people dying from blood cancer and we make patients’ lives better. Our patient services are here for people affected by blood cancer, offering information and support services in collaboration with other organisations. Through the dedicated information and support area on our website, people can share their experiences of blood cancer and connect with each other and our staff.
Unfortunately, there is too little information currently available for women who are diagnosed with blood cancer when pregnant. Diagnosis is a scary and difficult time for anyone, but the support information just doesn’t seem to exist yet for families at this stage with their specific needs. We plan to address this as soon as possible, so that anybody who is all patients get the same level of information and care when diagnosed in order to make the right decisions for them.
If you, or anybody you know has been affected by blood cancer during pregnancy, then we would love to hear from you. Please share your story with us by blogging with us, or by getting in touch through our social media channels. It’s vital that we use real patient experiences to help shape our information and support offering, so if you’ve been affected in this way then please get in touch.
Please note that in September 2015 Lymphoma and Leukemia Research will change its name to Bloodwise.