Blood Cancers – Are You Aware of The Symptoms?

Did you know that in New Zealand, our 5th most common group of cancers affecting all ages – and one of the highest in terms of mortality rates, are cancers of the blood? Leukaemia is also the most common cancer amongst our children, while lymphoma is the second most common with our AYA population. Every day 8 New Zealanders are diagnosed with a blood cancer- that’s 1 person every 4 hours.

But while blood cancers in New Zealand are overrepresented in mortality rates, they are under-diagnosed and the symptoms can be easily missed in the early stages. In a recent survey amongst 437 NZ blood cancer patients, 87% of respondents didn’t know their symptoms were directly related to blood cancer, 9% were unsure and only 4 % knew their symptoms were at all related to blood cancer.

Be aware of what the symptoms of blood cancers are, and if you are at all concerned – visit your doctor or contact a local GP.

While there are a range of possible signs or symptoms of blood cancers like leukaemia, lymphomamyeloma, MPN and MDS the most common symptoms include:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Regular & Frequent fevers
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Repeat infections
  • Itchy skin
  • Anaemia
  • Bone pain
  • Excessive night sweats
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Unusual bleeding/ bruising

Symptoms usually appear as a cluster. For most people these symptoms won’t mean they have a blood cancer, but it’s important you identify what is causing them if they are persistent or seem unexplained.

So What Next?

If you are concerned, contact your local GP to discuss your symptoms.

You can download our LBCNZ blood cancer symptoms PDF poster here

If you would like to learn more about the most common blood cancers, their symptoms and treatment; visit our summary of the diseases 

Not currently registered, but would like to discuss your symptoms with a local GP? Use these links below to find a registered doctor near you & enrol today.

North Island

South Island