A charity has launched a drive to improve knowledge of leukaemia among GPs.
A survey by Leukaemia Care found that 20% of patients with haematological cancers visited their GP more than three times before getting a specialist referral.
About 10% of patients reported initially being treated for something else.
The findings come from a survey of more than 2,000 patients with 16 different kinds of haematological cancer.
As part of the charity's #SpotLeukaemia campaign, it has also launched training modules, developed with the Royal College of GPs,
GP Dr Ellie Cannon, from London, said: 'The campaign seeks to raise awareness amongst the public and medical professionals of the different types of leukaemia, common symptoms and the populations they may affect. Leukaemia can be difficult for GPs to spot, because its relatively rare and symptoms may be vague. Leukaemia has a higher rate of emergency diagnosis (38%) than the cancer average (22%).'
A second survey, for a Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign, was conducted among the public by pollsters YouGov. It found that just 10% of people realised there are more than 100 different kinds of blood cancer.
An installation in Paternoster Square, London, will stay in place all month, displaying 104 giant names, representing the number of people diagnosed, on average, with haematological cancers every day.
Diana Jupp, from the charity Bloodwise, said: “Despite 230,000 people being affected by blood cancer across the UK, it is still a much-misunderstood and little-known disease area.
'We know that low awareness can lead to late diagnosis and can make it hard for people to find the information and support they need, leading to a greater sense of isolation.
'We are therefore delighted to be a part of this exciting campaign helping to raise awareness of blood cancer throughout this September and it’s great to see so many patient support groups join forces to all do their bit to make blood cancer visible.'
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