Easington MP highlights blood cancer misdiagnosis on World Lymphoma Awareness Day

By James Robinson

A County Durham MP is raising awareness of cancers that are often misdiagnosed and can take years to properly identify.

Easington MP Grahame Morris was speaking out on World Lymphoma Awareness Day, which takes place on September 15.

The campaign day is a a global initiative hosted by the Lymphoma Coalition and organised by Lymphoma Action in the UK.

Read more: Go here for more County Durham news and updates from County Durham Live

Lymphoma is the UK's fifth most common cancer, but rare lymphomas such as Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL), also known as skin lymphomas, are not well-known. Only around seven people in every million are diagnosed with a skin lymphoma every year in the UK.

The diagnosis journey can take up to seven years for some patients.

Labour MP Mr Morris, who is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on cancer, said: "It is crucial that on World Lymphoma Awareness Day we promote the better understanding of rare blood cancers because too often they can be misdiagnosed as milder, less life-threatening conditions.

"For instance, Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas are often misdiagnosed for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Due to their likeness to more common skin disorders, these rare lymphomas can take, on average, between two and seven years for individuals to receive a confirmed diagnosis."

Only around half of CTCL patients (52%) who receive an advanced disease diagnosis survive beyond five years.

Mr Morris added: “In my capacity as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer, I am proud to be an advocate for those people living with a blood cancer.

"We must continue to raise awareness for rare cancers like CTCL to improve the outcomes of people living with this condition in Easington constituency and across the UK.

Lymphoma Action say it is committed to raising awareness of lymphoma and the signs to look out for. As well as World Lymphoma Awareness Day on September 15, September is also Blood Cancer Awareness month.

According to the charity, the main symptoms of the disease are unexplained weight loss, feeling tired for no reason, a lump in your neck, armpit, or groin, an itchy feeling all the time and being drenched in sweat during the night.

If you have any of these symptoms, visit your GP.

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