‘Don’t miss my incurable cancer symptoms’, warns patient

A man living with incurable blood cancer is urging people to be aware of its symptoms. Dave Carson, 70, has joined a campaign to uncover the condition and stop the long wait in diagnosis.

Cancer affects over 24,000 people in the UK and causes 3,000 deaths each year. Dave, who is from Kettering and is being treated at Kettering General Hospital, has multiple myeloma, a cancer that can affect the spine, skull, pelvis and ribs.

Dave, a father of two children, was diagnosed in 2020 and currently has no cure. They have teamed up with Myeloma UK for National Myeloma Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday, June 2.

They aim to help prevent delayed diagnosis of disease by teaching people how to recognize the symptoms. Report NorthantsLive,

Dave is being supported by KGH specialists, who are asking all local medical professionals to look for symptoms of myeloma in their patients. This is important because only specialized myeloma specific tests can diagnose it.

Despite being the third most common type of blood cancer, myeloma is particularly difficult to diagnose, as symptoms are often associated with normal aging or other conditions. A quarter of patients wait more than a year for a diagnosis, with some waiting the longest of any cancer diagnosis.

A report from Myeloma UK suggests that it takes an average of 163 days to diagnose myeloma because the initial signs are subtle and reflect other conditions. By the time they begin treatment, many patients already have severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications.

Delay in treatment means that the incurable disease can cause severe pain, bone fractures and kidney damage. These can reduce the patient’s quality of life and shorten their remaining life expectancy.

Dave, a former coaching and mentoring consultant, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2020 after a bone marrow test. But it was still there 53 days after the initial A&E tour with chest pain. Dave’s diagnosis was the second major setback for him after he lost both his legs and six fingers due to sepsis in 2013.

He said: “My own experience with sepsis made me very careful and went to A&E when I had chest pain and shortness of breath when I had pneumonia. Anything on my first visit Not found, but 18 days later I went back to A&E with more chest pain and further tests raised my suspicion of myeloma.

“Myeloma is easy to miss because some symptoms are vague and things like chest and back pain, and being out of breath can have other reasons. I hope my story helps raise awareness about myeloma. and helps patients and medical professionals to be more aware of it so that people can get treatment earlier and have a better quality of life.”

Dr. Alex Ghebreyesus, Consultant Hematologist at Kettering General Hospital, said: “Diagnosing multiple myeloma can be difficult because the symptoms can be subtle and mimic many other common medical complaints such as fatigue and back pain. I recommend all medical professionals. urges to be cautious and consider myeloma when they see symptoms such as unexplained fractures, anemia, fatigue, weight loss, abnormal kidney function, or total protein or serum calcium in blood tests.

“It is important to be suspicious and start specialist testing. The sooner myeloma is diagnosed, the better the quality of life for the patient because we can access early treatment that can reduce the damage caused by the disease.

Dave and his fellow myeloma patients are supported by KGH’s Macmillan lymphoma clinical nurse specialist Cathy Heywood. She said: “Dave is a tremendously brave man and we support his efforts to raise awareness about myeloma.

“Developing myeloma after being so badly affected by sepsis is devastating and Dave was particularly concerned about his mobility as he walks on prosthetics. While many other conditions can look like myeloma, fatigue, muscle and bone loss can occur. It is important to take symptoms such as pain and unexpected fractures seriously and to investigate them thoroughly.”

Shelagh McKinley, Acting Director of Research and Patient Advocacy for Myeloma UK, said: “We are delighted that Dave Carson and Kettering General Hospital are working to raise awareness of myeloma and prevent people’s lives from being cut short by avoidable delays in diagnosis. Supporting our campaign.

“While the quality of life of people living with myeloma has never been more important, advances in treatment mean that patients are now able to live longer than ever before.

“Delayed diagnosis is known to increase the likelihood that patients will experience two or more serious complications. Nevertheless, there is still no specific diagnosis goal to ensure that the disease is caught and timely. be treated.”

Dave also found that campaigning had helped his mental health. “People say I’m a really resilient and positive person,” he said, adding that “talking openly about how I’m feeling has helped”.

“Some days when I think about what happened it can be overwhelming. But I feel like I can’t get over the initial diagnosis and ‘Why me?’ I’ve just come through. I just want to look ahead.

“It’s hard when there’s no cure but I want to raise awareness. I’m sure other people haven’t been diagnosed yet and are in trouble.”

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