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National blood cancer charity pledges to reach new audiences

SHOUT OUT: Myeloma UK

MYELOMA UK, the only organisation in the United Kingdom dealing exclusively with myeloma, have launched their 2019 Myeloma Awareness Week campaign, ‘Shout About Myeloma’ with a pledge to make more people aware of the symptoms of the incurable blood cancer than ever before.

The cancer, which arises from plasma cells made in the bone marrow that form part of the immune system, is the second most common form of blood cancer in the UK:

Research has identified that myeloma is 2-3 times more common in people of African descent. (13 in 100,000 for black people vs 5 in 100,000 for white people) Black people are also more likely to be younger at diagnosis than white people. (66 years versus 70 years respectively).

Unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumour, and some of the symptoms such as back pain and tiredness are non-specific and associated with changes common as people get older, making it harder to diagnose quickly.

‘Shout About Myeloma’ tells the stories of seven different patients and supporters in a series of videos published throughout the week from 21 to 27 June, where they share their experiences, and encourage others to shout about the impact myeloma has on individuals, families and their carers.

Announcing the launch of the campaign, Marc Gordon, Chairman of Myeloma UK said: “Living with a diagnosis of myeloma places a huge physical and emotional strain on the people it affects.

“We are aware that research has identified that myeloma is 2-3 times more common in people of African descent and we are committed to raising more awareness on this issue. The impact of this devastating disease is huge, and the deeply personal stories our campaign highlights describe only part of the picture.

“As well as our ground breaking research work to help find a cure for myeloma, and efforts in improving earlier diagnosis, Myeloma UK provides patient support, advice and assistance services free of charge to everyone who needs them. We receive no government funding and can do this only thanks to the generosity of our supporters.”

Myeloma patient, Carmen Lester from Surrey, has given her support to Myeloma UK by taking part in the ‘Shout about Myeloma’ campaign.

Carmen’s story launched the 2019 campaign. She said: “I was diagnosed with myeloma aged 54 which came as a shock to me. I‘ve always been pretty healthy, eating well and going to the gym but I’d had pain and fatigue for a year. When I was visited my doctor I found out that 95% of my marrow was populated with myeloma so I was then put on three months of aggressive chemo. Thanks to the proper treatment, soon my results were much better, but my life has changed and so have many others.

“Myeloma UK have given me support. There are 5,700 new cases of myeloma in the UK every year. They receive no Government funding and every penny raised directly helps towards finding new treatments so people like me can enjoy a better quality of life whilst they work to find a cure.

There’s no more time for silence, it’s time to shout about myeloma.”

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